The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Know the rope behind your seat


September 22, 2017

To list even the common situations where one needs to tie-down, secure, drag, lift, compress, hang, head, or heel something — would be a list too long to post here or to get through in any decent amount of time.

But, proceeding with the understanding of how numerous and often these tasks arrive and must be handled, let’s talk about rope.

Rope is a simple term for a thing that is so varied and where variety matters so much.

There’s the generic, archetypal rope that I’ve only ever seen in older movies and drawing and imagined in books. It’s light-brown, low-ply, rough, scratchy, and seems prone to unraveling with the smallest provocation at the most drama-causing times. The closest thing I can think of is those white cotton lead ropes that look really nice until you get them home and they suddenly become dirty and made of grassburrs.

The next most well-defined, I think, is the lariat rope or the cowboy rope — or, if you’re on a horse or within roping distance of cow — just call it a rope. It’s one of the most useful and debatable kinds.

You can’t just have any rope. You need either a left-hand or right-hand twist, a particular softness/stiffness-depending on what you prefer and what you need to do with it, you might have a preferred shade, and we’ll not get into it now, but we could spend a long time talking about the proper and acceptable length.

Then there’s the rope that you just seem to have around. It’s behind the seat, maybe in a wad, or maybe in a nice little hank. You don’t know where it came from, you don’t know what’s inside or how much it will really hold. But you’re gonna test it to find out if it will get the present job done and you’ll find something else if it doesn’t quite meet the mark.

There are things that are not rope, that you might use in a pinch, like wire, cable, twine, net-wrap, a tow-strap, a truck-strap, a motor-cycle-strap, half-a-rein, or something that is essentially long and knottable and in mostly one piece.

The point I’m trying to make is that you can’t take rope for granted or assume your rope’s kind. It’s important to know and respect the differences and to keep some behind the seat.

Audra Brown has two hanks of mystery rope, a collection of straps, and a rope or two behind the seat. Contact her at:


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