A Labor Of Loves

REVIEW FEATURE

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It's all about love for town historians Jinx Pyle and Jaynie Peace -- a love for the Rim Country where they were raised, a love for the heritage and cultures of the West, and the very special love they have found in each other.

Now, with the recent opening of Git A Rope! Art & Antique Corral, they've brought all their passions together. Their store features such a diverse collection of Western art and artifacts -- including old saddles, spurs, lanterns, ropes, stuffed bears, leather-scented candles and just a whole bunch of stuff they've cleaned out of their barns -- that mere words are inadequate.

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Jaynie Peace and Jinx Pyle pose with a former Rim Country neighbor at their Git A Rope! Art & Antique Corral. Both Peace and Pyle grew up in the area, and their families were among its earliest settlers.

And Jinx is a man of few words anyway.

"When you come in the store, all this stuff hanging from the ceiling gives it the look of a trading post -- primarily cowboy and Indian stuff," he said.

Jaynie elaborates.

"It was just cowboy," she said. "Now it's cowboy and Indian, and we're adding Mexican-Spanish. It's the three cultures of the southwest."

Rather than a trading post, it almost seems like you're walking into a museum.

"A lot of people come in and say they feel like they should have paid admission at the front door," Jinx said.

If you get the feeling, Jinx and Jaynie finish each other's lines -- and thoughts -- you're pretty close to right on. While both have roots that reach deep into the Rim Country's legendary past, theirs was a September love.

"We were both pretty much retired four years ago," Jaynie explained. "Jinx lived in New Mexico and I lived here in Payson. We had known each other since we were children, but we were never close.

"Then Jinx called me and asked me to edit a book for him ("Blue Fox"). I agreed, and from that point on our friendship grew into a wonderful, loving partnership.

If you haven't figured it out by now, Jinx and Jaynie are more than business partners. They're husband and wife, and the arrangement is working out very well.

"Jaynie and I support each other's interests, edit each other's books, and work together well -- and that's good because we are together most of the time," Jinx said.

"We both come from families that tease a lot, so we are masters at it. We know when we are kidding but sometimes other people don't, so they wonder what we are up to.

"But we are best friends and we understand each other. We laugh a lot. It's nice to have a wife who is truly a partner."

Considering how far back their families go, that's an awful lot of teasing.

"My people were the first to build a house within the confines of the Tonto Basin, and by the Tonto Basin I mean from the Rim to Roosevelt Lake and from the Mazatzals to the Sierra Anchas," Jinx said.

Specifically that would be his "third great grandfather" David Harer, who built that house in Greenback Valley (just barely into the Sierra Anchas east of the Butcher Hook).

"He got along with the Indians because they viewed him as some sort of a god because he wore a rattlesnake around his neck," Jinx said. "He had a pet rattlesnake; it was defanged but the Apaches didn't know it."

Jinx grew up in the Rim Country on "various ranches." When the family saw that the area was ripe for a major forest fire, they sold their beloved Myrtle Ranch and eventually moved to Oregon.

"You had manzanita higher than your head when you were sitting on a horse under dry ponderosa pine," he said. Manzanita is the hottest burning wood in this part of country, so we were sitting on a powder keg."

Four years after they sold out, the Dude Fire swept across their old ranch.

Eventually Pyle moved to New Mexico and was ranching there when he made that fateful call to Jaynie. She, on the other hand, never left the Rim Country.

"My people -- the Neals, Hales, Griffins, and Peaces -- have been here since 1889," she said. "They were also ranchers, cowboys, and hunters, among other things.

"They all came from Texas and settled in Gisela and Pleasant Valley. We never left. We still have the same ranch. That's seven generations in Gisela."

The editing assistance that Jaynie provided to Jinx four years ago led to the founding of Git A Rope! Publishing, a company that has published 15 books and, like their art and antique business, is going strong.

They themselves have written eight of the books they've published: "Looking Through the Smoke," "Blue Fox," "History of Gisela," "Mountain Cowboys," "Rodeo 101: History of the Payson Rodeo," "Muanami - Sister of the Moon," "Calf Fries and Cow Pies," and "Cooking for Zane Grey Under the Tonto Rim."

"We can't do what we want to do (live the ranching life of their ancestors) so we have to write about it," Jaynie said. "And now that we've opened the store we can actually look at the old stuff."

And then, of course, they have each other.

(Git A Rope! Art & Antique Corral, located at 1104 South Beeline Highway, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. "Sometimes 9-5 if there doesn't happen to be anybody in here," Jinx added. For more information, call 928-474-0011.)

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