Looking Good

I admit I’ve made a fair chunk of change in my lifetime. But that being said, I’m not really into stuff. I’m a jeans, T-shirts and ropers kind of guy. I’ll take pickup trucks over Porsches any day of the week.

I don’t own a lot of high-ticket items (other than my farm!). Boy, if you ever have more money than you know what to do with, buy a farm. You can find new ways to spend it every day.

I admit I’ve made a fair chunk of change in my lifetime. But that being said, I’m not really into stuff. I’m a jeans, T-shirts and ropers kind of guy. I’ll take pickup trucks over Porsches any day of the week. I don’t own a lot of high-ticket items (other than my farm!). Boy, if you ever have more money than you know what to do with, buy a farm. You can find new ways to spend it every day.

But I do own a really nice binocular. Fifteen years ago, I spoke at a sportsmen’s convention for free, and the bino was presented to me as a “thank you,” which was awesome because I never would’ve bought it for myself. When I got home I couldn’t wait to try out the new bino, so I went on the back porch and started scanning the surroundings. That’s when I saw my neighbor, Ricky, cooking on his grill in just his underwear.

I’ve begged my brain to delete that file but it refuses, which still causes me to wake up with the cold shivers all these years later. I love that binocular. Every time I pull it out my world gets a little happier. We’ve endured a lot together: rain, sleet, snow, dust, dirt, briars and cactus on our adventures. Heck, we’ve traveled the world! I’ve used the bino in Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Africa, the Arctic Circle and New Zealand. We’ve watched races at Talladega Motor Speedway, Falcon football games and seen my daughter’s face up-close when she was selected as homecom-ing queen.

That alone would’ve justified the cost. We’ve been joined together for some of the most exciting moments of my life and endured some long stretches of boredom. I’ve wiped those lenses clean a million times and through them I’ve seen thousands of deer, hundreds of bushes that looked like a deer, countless stumps that could’ve been a deer and many a green field completely void of deer.

I’ve watched bucks fight, seen a buck breed a doe on four different occasions, observed fawns nursing and seen a buck’s horns barely sticking up out of the top of a field of sagebrush. I’ve spotted Dall’s sheep bedded on the side of a mountain and examined countless patches of snow that looked like a Dall’s sheep. I’ve watched caribou graze and once saw a brown bear pooping on the edge of a river.

(So to answer that age-old question: Yes, they do!) Together we’ve witnessed a bald eagle catching fish, a sea otter floating on its back, scores of humpback whales surfacing, and one time saw a pod of killer whales that swam We’ve seen bobcats and beavers, elk and elephants, lions and lizards, red stag, red-tailed hawks and some guy in a red truck riding the fence line I was hunting in Kansas.

I’ve used the bino to find shed antlers and to check out 4,000 sticks and roots that looked like they might be shed antlers. We’ve watched thunderstorms rolling in and mountains at sunset, coyotes surround and catch a jack rabbit, and a girl in a canoe wearing a white bikini top. (I thought it was her bra, so it did call for closer examination.) As partners we’ve viewed possums, Cape Buffalo, leopards, cheetahs, geese, ducks, armadillos and squirrels. We once watched a man in an orange vest wander up and down a power line barking like a dog.

Speaking of dogs, one day about 10 years ago the only living creature I saw on stand all morning was a pack of three Chihuahuas that trotted though the woods right under my tree and never stopped. I had to run home and read the book of Revelations, because I was sure it was one of the signs of the Apocalypse. That binocular is an important color in the tapestry that is my life. I’ve had to replace a couple of eyepieces and several straps, but I would never think about replacing my bino. We’ve seen too much together, and I can only imagine what we might see next.


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