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Mikey's Redneck-Hillbilly-West Virginia "DOGBED" unveiled as '21 Christmas Card

Last summer--after 40 years of walking over, around, and literally into and out of this old tractor farm tire that laid off to the edge of the 'little cow pasture' here close to the house--I decided it was time to gather it up and haul it off. The tire is who knows how old, totally dry rotted, and not of a quality one could recycle. I'd come to love/hate the old thing, lying there, not in the way, but nevertheless in the way. I tied a rope around one side of the tire, and Bev dragged it up with the big tractor into the field. When he asked, "Well, what do you want me to do with it?", I found myself too connected to this old relic to simply throw it out, haul it to the tire graveyard and then pay someone to come and get it for one of those big 'old-tire bonfires' that shouldn't really ever happen anywhere. "Oh," I said, "why not just haul it to the edge of the yard and plant flowers in it this summer. Everyone around here does that anyway." The tire seemed to have come alive in its new home, once filled with rotted, composted hay and manure, and produced a most attractive flower bouquet of daisies, marigolds, Johnny 'jump-ups', and purple allsyium all summer long. Fall came. Most of the summer flowers died off to give way for the little violas, the somewhat hardier Johnny 'jump-ups' that had spread out into the yard beyond the tire. Frost came. I built a little protective wall out of old bricks around what remained, thinking the warmth of the old rubber in the sun might hold them over the winter. One day from the kitchen window we looked out and saw "Mikey" happily curled into a ball snoozing in her newly adopted "Redneck-Hillbilly-West Virginia" DogBed! I chuckled at the cuteness of her, a big, surly Anatolian Livestock Guardian Dog, more than satisfied with some warmed dirt, piled into a old tire, not quite big enough for her 120 lb. frame, but would make fluff, nothing out of the ordinary...fine place to lie and survey the pasture beyond, listen for predators, look up into the sky for buzzards, Eagles, and intruding overhead planes, peak down the road to see if strangers might venture too close to her elected territory to protect. And then, along came December and our first snow of 2020. It was a cold night, the 14th of December. We got 8-9" of a white, powdery fresh snowfall that night. "Mikey", being the youngest one of the three guardian dogs we have now, is more likely to stay out all night doing her job. The other two, "Sissy" and "Annie", venture into the house in the wee hours of the morning and warm by the wood stove unless they're 'called' out by Mikey's howling and soulful barks to say "I need you too, Come Now." Well, the morning after that first snow, we look out again and found dear "Mikey" once more curled up in the tire, on top of the snow-covered dead flower debris, quite content and head tucked, asleep like any "Redneck-Hillbilly" dog! I sent this picture to my friend and we laughed--so yes, this ended up being our 2021 Christmas Card with a note to Santa, asking, "Santa, could you please, please, bring our 'Little Mikey' a real DOGBED this Christmas?". The note was signed, "Love You, Santa, Sissy and Annie. We left you Cookies and Cream and Dog Biscuits for Rudolph."

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