A Tongue Twister Tale
S. E. Schlosser
Dolly Dittlemore put her harmonica into her pocket and said: “I am going to march in the Fourth of July parade. Don’t get into any trouble, Yankee Doodle.”
Yankee Doodle, her pet donkey, nodded his shaggy brown head up and down and continued to munch on the piece of drape he had bitten from the window. Dolly and her father left the bright sunny garden and walked down Drake Drive together.
Suddenly Yankee Doodle realized Dolly had gone downtown without him. Yankee Doodle brayed in distress. He dropped the drape and trotted to the gate. Yankee Doodle nudged the door open. Then Yankee Doodle went to town.
By the time Yankee Doodle reached the end of Drake Drive there was no sign of Dolly. Yankee Doodle drifted past Anna’s Fresh Fruit Stand. Yankee Doodle liked the look of Anna’s apples. He took a mouthful.
“There’s a donkey eating the apples!” shouted a little boy.
Anna came running out of the store.
“Shoo Yankee Doodle!” she shouted. “Go home.”
Yankee Doodle did not want to go home. Instead, he trotted down the street, toward the crowd at the far end. Yankee Doodle paused to eat Baby Bobby’s bibs off the clothesline. Bobby’s mother chased him away with a broom.
Then Yankee Doodle spotted the supermarket. With a happy bray, he jogged through the cheering crowd, past the shopping carts, through the automatic doors and into the vegetable aisle. He had eaten all the corn and had started on the lettuce when the manager came running up.
“Get out of here!” he yelled. “Help, police!”
Yankee Doodle did not want to leave the supermarket. There was so much to munch on, all in one place. But he did not like the noise the manager was making, so he left the lettuce and went into aisle eight. It was full of paper products. Yankee Doodle liked paper.
The manager came into the paper aisle with Sergeant Peters the policeman.
“See here, you can’t eat that!” said Sergeant Peters as Yankee Doodle munched on some paper plates.
Sergeant Peters tried to pull Yankee Doodle out of the aisle. Yankee Doodle didn’t like that. He brayed loudly and threw up his head.
The manager tried to push Yankee Doodle out of the aisle. Yankee Doodle refused to budge. Several shoppers tried to help, but no one could make Yankee Doodle move.
Outside the supermarket, Justin’s Jug Band struck up the song Yankee Doodle Dandy as they marched by in the parade. Yankee Doodle stopped chewing the package of cups. He liked the sound of that song. Dolly sang it to him every night when she fed him.
Behind him, Sergeant Peters and the manager were pushing on his back end. Yankee Doodle did not like that. He decided to look for Dolly. Yankee Doodle trotted out the door. Sergeant Peters and the manager fell in a heap behind him.
Yankee Doodle followed the Jug Band up the hill. Dolly was playing harmonica with the band when she spotted him.
“Yankee Doodle!” shouted Dolly.
Yankee Doodle brayed happily. He had found Dolly.
“Yankee Doodle, you go home right now!” said Dolly.
Yankee Doodle did not want to go home. He wanted to march in the parade with Dolly. She handed her harmonica to her father and ran after him. Yankee Doodle thought it was a game and danced in and out of the crowd, knocking over some clowns and sending their balloons heavenward.
“Oh, dear!” Dolly cried. “Yankee Doodle, you are ruining the parade.”
Yankee Doodle began to eat a clown’s hat. He stayed just out of reach when Dolly’s father tried to grab him. Several strangers in the crowd tried to catch him, but Yankee Doodle just ran back into the center of the parade and trotted behind a big float of the American flag.
“Quick, everyone,” called Dolly. “Play Yankee Doodle Dandy again.”
The members of the Jug Band reassembled and began to play. Yankee Doodle brayed happily. They were playing his favorite song. “Yankee Doodle keep it up/Yankee Doodle dandy,” Dolly sang.
She led the Jug Band away from the parade and up Drake Drive toward her house. A large number of people followed them. Yankee Doodle was hee-hawing happily along with the band. They finished the song in front of Dolly’s yard. Yankee Doodle trotted through the open gate. Dolly closed it with a flourish. The members of the Jug Band cheered.
“Put Yankee Doodle away,” Dolly’s father called, before he left with the band to rejoin the parade. Dolly Dittlemore glared at Yankee Doodle.
Yankee Doodle backed into the corner of the garden.
“No carrots for a week!” said Dolly and put him into his stall.
Yankee Doodle never went to town again.