Tonight was special. Many children, accompanied by their parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles, siblings and Cub Scout brothers visited the farm. They met the animals. They went for a hay ride. They sang along with the marvelous Casey Aro. And we made ropes.
How I came to learn the art of rope making is told in an earlier blog. “People you meet and things you get roped into.”
Rope making is magical in more than one way. Each child gets to choose their colors. I have twelve different ones. The company I get the twine from has 32 in all. The ropes we make are twelve strands each, enabling the designer to chose up to six colors. Each rope is different. Each one unique. Each one is beautiful.
Once the machine is strung, the magic begins. The designer turns the crank that turns the hooks that twists the strands together. As the strands tighten, the tension increases. When the proper tension is reached a weight suspended on a rope and pulley system begins to rise. It is at this precise moment that I begin working the rope with what I call my magician wand. As I move it back and forth, the three strand merge into one rope. Depending on the speed the rope maker is turning the crank, the rope forms in a matter of seconds. When the twist reaches the machine I ask the cranker to hold it while I secure it with a simple little hog ring. Once secured, I cut it free from the hooks. I fire up my propane torch and melt the ends. The new rope owner makes a wish and blows out the flame. I hand the rope to the child. The deal is done.
The whole process takes less than five minutes. During that brief interval we talk. Who is the rope for? What is the dogs name? If it’s for grandpa’s dog, what’s his name where does he live? Children chose colors for their own reasons. Bystanders praise them for their choices. “Wow, that’s a beautiful
rope. You are really strong to turn that crank. Jessie (or whatever the dogs name is) is going to love what you made”
Life is a series of short encounters when you really think about it. I may never see these children again. But for a brief five minutes it’s just me and them, sharing what’s important, creating a bond. Then occasionally I run into children in the
L & M. Store. “Remember me Mr. Ed? You made a rope for my dog.” We take a brief moment to catch up on the news about them, about the dog, about grandpa and grandma etc.
Thank you Willard Pearson for sharing this gift with me. I wish I could share all the children’s joy and amazement with you.