Banjo on Old Age: How Dare They Call Me Old! | Beaufort County Now | Sure, I’ve begun to stumble as I climb the stairs to the second floor, but I still climb ‘em.

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Banjo on Old Age: How Dare They Call Me Old!

Publisher's Note: Kathy Manos Penn is a native of the “Big Apple,” who settled in the “Peach City” — Atlanta. A former English teacher now happily retired from a corporate career in communications, she writes a weekly column for the Dunwoody Crier and the Highlands Newspaper. Read her blogs and columns and purchase her books, “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday” and “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” on her website or Amazon.

Kathy Manos Penn with Lord Banjo
    Sure, I've begun to stumble as I climb the stairs to the second floor, but I still climb 'em. And, yes, sometimes, Mum has to come down, touch me on my head, and coax me up. Sure, I occasionally fall on to my belly coming up the three steps to the front porch, but I never complain.

    I bet none of this would have been an issue if I hadn't visited the vet for my annual checkup and shots. She told Mum I had muscle atrophy or something strange, and added I had something both my pet parents have — arthritis. She told Mum I was in pain.

    What does she know? I never said a word. I'm a big boy. I just suck it up and keep on keeping on. But noooo. Now, I have to take anti-inflammatory drugs twice a day. The good news is these taste pretty good. That means Mum doesn't resort to cramming them down my throat. Thank goodness for small favors.

    Mum and Dad also talk about me having dementia — whatever that is. Mum calls me squirrel dog, and I've never chased a squirrel in my life. Yes, I walk into the yard and stare off into the distance and appear unable to find my way to the porch. So what? My parents are so easily worried. I'm just thinking deep thoughts, and I find my way back when I'm good and ready.

    Mum was also fit to be tied at my behavior the other night. We went out the front door, me to take care of business, Mum to visit the mailbox. She turned around to come down the driveway and was surprised to see me right behind her. Why? Well, I'm not allowed to go up the driveway unless I have my leash on and I'm invited — or so she says. I say, dang it, I'm thirteen years old, and I should be allowed to do whatever strikes my fancy. If I have a mind to go up to the street, so be it.

    That goes for visiting the neighbors behind us too. Mum was more than surprised when that happened. She says she was distressed when she got a call saying I was at their house. That's also taboo. We have an electric fence, but it hasn't worked for years, and that's been fine because I knew my boundaries. Seriously, I still know them. I just can't be bothered to pay attention to them. I'm a social kind of guy. Unfortunately, by the time you read this, the electric fence will have been fixed. Darn!

    Mum says I took the cake when I snuck off one night. Okay, okay, I did disappear — while she was watching me, mind you, but I DID NOT take any cake. I went behind a bush to take care of business and bamboozled Mum when I snuck off. After two hours of my parents searching for me, a neighbor brought me back. The upshot of this is I have a new collar that lights up and there are threats that I may never-ever get to go outside again except on a leash.

    There's also been conversation about what will happen when I can no longer make it upstairs to the bedroom. Heaven forbid, I sleep downstairs all by my lonesome. Mum says she may be forced to sleep in the guest room on the first floor. Trust me, that's only because she doesn't want to hear me bark all night. Yup, that's what I do when I can't find my parents or I think they've left me by myself. I like to be where they are. It's that social thing again.

    Most of all, I keep hearing the word "old." I've heard a psychiatrist call this projecting, and I'm sure that's what it is. They're so worried about getting old themselves, they're projecting it onto me. Surely if I can talk psychobabble, I have all my faculties. And, I might point out, I still have all my original parts, unlike my dad. He has two fake knees and a fake hip. I'm 100% dog — no replacement parts here. So there. You saw me stick out my tongue, right?

Award-winning Author Kathy Manos Penn is a Georgia resident. Find her cozy mysteries on Amazon. Contact her at
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