Hungry Johnny

Hungry Johnny - Cheryl Kay Minnema

Hungry Johnny

While attending the traditional Ojibwe community feast with his grandmother, young Johnny observes the bounty of festive foods and counts the numerous elders yet to be seated. Despite his growling tummy, Johnny learns to be patient and respectful. Full color.
"I like to eat, eat, eat," choruses young Johnny as he watches Grandma at work in the kitchen. Wild rice, fried potatoes, fruit salad, frosted sweet rolls--what a feast Johnny can hardly contain his excitement. In no time, he'll be digging in with everyone else, filling his belly with all this good food.

But wait. First there is the long drive to the community center. And then an even longer Ojibwe prayer. And then--well, young boys know to follow the rules: elders eat first, no matter how hungry the youngsters are. Johnny lingers with Grandma, worried that the tasty treats won't last. Seats at the tables fill and refill; platters are emptied and then replaced. Will it ever be their turn? And will there be enough?

As Johnny watches anxiously, Grandma gently teaches. By the time her friend Katherine arrives late to the gathering, Johnny knows just what to do, hunger pangs or no. He understands, just as Grandma does, that gratitude, patience, and respect are rewarded by a place at the table--and plenty to eat, eat, eat.

Writer and beadwork artist Cheryl Kay Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Artist Wesley Ballinger, also a member of the Mille Lacs Band, works for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.


"I like to eat, eat, eat," choruses young Johnny as he watches Grandma at work in the kitchen. Wild rice, fried potatoes, fruit salad, frosted sweet rolls--what a feast Johnny can hardly contain his excitement. In no time, he'll be digging in with everyone else, filling his belly with all this good food.

But wait. First there is the long drive to the community center. And then an even longer Ojibwe prayer. And then--well, young boys know to follow the rules: elders eat first, no matter how hungry the youngsters are. Johnny lingers with Grandma, worried that the tasty treats won't last. Seats at the tables fill and refill; platters are emptied and then replaced. Will it ever be their turn? And will there be enough?

As Johnny watches anxiously, Grandma gently teaches. By the time her friend Katherine arrives late to the gathering, Johnny knows just what to do, hunger pangs or no. He understands, just as Grandma does, that gratitude, patience, and respect are rewarded by a place at the table--and plenty to eat, eat, eat.

Writer and beadwork artist Cheryl Kay Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Artist Wesley Ballinger, also a member of the Mille Lacs Band, works for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

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While attending the traditional Ojibwe community feast with his grandmother, young Johnny observes the bounty of festive foods and counts the numerous elders yet to be seated. Despite his growling tummy, Johnny learns to be patient and respectful. Full color.
"I like to eat, eat, eat," choruses young Johnny as he watches Grandma at work in the kitchen. Wild rice, fried potatoes, fruit salad, frosted sweet rolls--what a feast Johnny can hardly contain his excitement. In no time, he'll be digging in with everyone else, filling his belly with all this good food.

But wait. First there is the long drive to the community center. And then an even longer Ojibwe prayer. And then--well, young boys know to follow the rules: elders eat first, no matter how hungry the youngsters are. Johnny lingers with Grandma, worried that the tasty treats won't last. Seats at the tables fill and refill; platters are emptied and then replaced. Will it ever be their turn? And will there be enough?

As Johnny watches anxiously, Grandma gently teaches. By the time her friend Katherine arrives late to the gathering, Johnny knows just what to do, hunger pangs or no. He understands, just as Grandma does, that gratitude, patience, and respect are rewarded by a place at the table--and plenty to eat, eat, eat.

Writer and beadwork artist Cheryl Kay Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Artist Wesley Ballinger, also a member of the Mille Lacs Band, works for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.


"I like to eat, eat, eat," choruses young Johnny as he watches Grandma at work in the kitchen. Wild rice, fried potatoes, fruit salad, frosted sweet rolls--what a feast Johnny can hardly contain his excitement. In no time, he'll be digging in with everyone else, filling his belly with all this good food.

But wait. First there is the long drive to the community center. And then an even longer Ojibwe prayer. And then--well, young boys know to follow the rules: elders eat first, no matter how hungry the youngsters are. Johnny lingers with Grandma, worried that the tasty treats won't last. Seats at the tables fill and refill; platters are emptied and then replaced. Will it ever be their turn? And will there be enough?

As Johnny watches anxiously, Grandma gently teaches. By the time her friend Katherine arrives late to the gathering, Johnny knows just what to do, hunger pangs or no. He understands, just as Grandma does, that gratitude, patience, and respect are rewarded by a place at the table--and plenty to eat, eat, eat.

Writer and beadwork artist Cheryl Kay Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Artist Wesley Ballinger, also a member of the Mille Lacs Band, works for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

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