The company claimed an unlimited, unconditional, lifetime warranty. 

It is reassuring to read information like that on a box that contains some tool or product. 

A policy to protect your family, health, business or home. 

But very little in life making these claims can be termed foolproof. 

The binoculars I’d been gifted at Christmas time by my kids came with just such a warranty. 

Quality that I have been reluctant to purchase for myself over the years. In the hunting industry, good glass can make or break a day on the prairie where the tan of an animal’s hide blends in with the background so well that often I am only picking out the shadows of deer before seeing the animal itself. 

I am heavy and increasingly clumsy. 

Little that I own doesn’t carry the scar of occasional hard use or forced service into some fashion for which it was never intended. 

The binoculars made it all the way through a vigorous fall elk and spring turkey season before being split asunder by an accidental fall from the dinner table. They snapped in two.

I packed them up an shipped them off in the same box they came in using the instructions that I found online. 

I keep all  the boxes for just such an eventuality, but rarely have to put them to the test. I crossed my fingers and handed the damaged glass over to the pretty young lady at the post office front desk. 

I hoped for the best but didn’t expect much. 

Two friends shared the results of their personal warranty plans over the weekend. 

One dealing with health and the other his business. 

The Iron Man is a lifelong friend. 

We first met as boys at the local pool where we soaked up as much sun as a South Dakota summer could muster. 

We shared high school classrooms, played on the same teams, held crushes on the same young lady. 

We settled on different Universities but still made time to stand up as groomsmen at each other’s weddings. 

Those were thirty-plus years ago. 

The Home Coming King took his warranty out in the healthcare category. 

He began training and eating right, dropped pounds and improved his lifestyle until he owned one of the most successful cardiovascular systems in the country. 

To finish any of the multiple Iron Man competitions he has completed requires no less. 

But his path to health couldn’t account for the youthful summers in the sun and our over-exposure that had him struggling through a battery of chemicals to fight the precancerous growth that threaten the new freedom he and his beautiful wife had begun to enjoy after their kids had transitioned out of college. 

He’s strong and will do fine but thought his plan would provide more protection. 

My other friend is a rancher and our friendship covers two decades. 

We share a love of grandchildren and an admiration for their parents. 

He helped me raise my kids, I his, and I smile every time I hear his voice.  

A hay trailer caught fire on the prairie. 

The flames took the load, the trailer, a new tractor and stacks of feed meant for his herd this winter. 

He paid for coverage, has for years. 

But when talking to his insurer, he was informed that the trailer and its load were only covered when on a roadway not in the pasture. 

The stacks of feed were all counted as one because they had not been distributed as far apart as the policy required.  Instead of the sun, he was burned by the fine print. 

Driving home this evening, the driveway showed evidence of the UPS man.  

My wife is getting as good at reading sign as I and recognized his tread left in the dusty gravel. 

She found a Christmas dress for the Granddaughter, I a neatly packaged pair of optics.

 “We were unable to return your Binoculars to factory specs. Please accept this upgrade and the accompanying carrying system as a token of our appreciation for your business.” 

I tried them out on the mule deer gathering in the valley below the house and they seem to work just fine.  I was more than pleased but wishing that more of the warranties of this life were as strong as that of my Vortex binoculars. That I could snap my fingers for a friend and make health scares fade and insurance companies cover the bill. 

The Speirs family has owned and operated Crow Creek Wildlife Management Service since 1996.

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