At Sophie’s, in support of the Metis Ride of Hope

How does this work, that the title of this post is about the Métis Ride of Hope, but the picture is of Ukrainian food? I shall explain!

Upon our arrival, Andrew told me he needed to take a picture of me in front of the restaurant, so here you go.

In the middle of May long weekend, Andrew and I were fortunate enough to attend a special dinner at Sophie’s Restaurant in Hadashville. It was the kickoff event for the Metis Ride of Hope. And yes, the journey is largely complete at this point and this post is way late. But I’m still telling you about it because Kelly and Armand Jerome are likely still collecting donations in support of Ukrainian orphans.

The Red River Cart that Armand Jerome had built was standing proudly in front of the restaurant. What an icon!

Armand is Métis, and Kelly has Ukrainian background (among many other nationalities, she explained to me) and I like how this couple has come together to do so much good for the world.

Inside the restaurant, as we were getting settled in our seats. Ernie Braun was taking pictures to document the occasion so I took a picture of Ernie taking pictures (with Al Hamm in the foreground).

I’ve told you a bit about Kelly and Armand before, in this post. Armand is a master Red River cart builder, and Ernie Braun is a great connector of people. Armand and Ernie are also great friends. So there are several times you will see this terrific collaboration between Mennonite historian Ernie Braun and Métis cart builder Armand Jerome. Both bring a lot of energy and momentum to create good for the world.

The Ukrainians do borscht very well! What a stunning beet borscht!

So when Ernie told me about this dinner at Sophie’s Restaurant to kick off the Métis Ride of Hope, I was in! Ernie envisioned filling the restaurant with lots of Mennonite and Métis people. And it sure did happen.

Kelly and Armand telling how the Metis Ride of Hope began and their journey up to this moment. I love how joyful everyone looks, as they look on and listen to the Jeromes share.

Also I’ve noticed Sophie’s Restaurant many times over the years, as I’ve driven between Steinbach and the Whiteshell. I’ve always been curious about the place and have heard good things but I was always in the middle of a journey with a deadline (often running late) with no time to stop.

“One day,” I promised myself.

That day was May 20, 2023 🙂

Kelly Jerome with Ernie and Doreen Braun. Beautiful people!

The table we ended up sitting at had a collection of interesting people, naturally — all present at Ernie’s invitation. I was especially fascinated in talking with a couple who had documented every cemetery in the southeast that had any sort of military markers. They had been enlisted by the government to find these locations, check on them, and carefully note if any upkeep was required. And so they had spent days and days combing through every cemetery, even right here! I think they said they would visit about eight cemeteries every day. I do not remember their names at this point because I did not take notes and as you can see my pictures are clearly not great either — I was too shy. Also I wanted to live in the moment. But then procrastination and forgetfulness took over and, well, here we are. Apologies to all.

However, I do know where to find her (the very interesting woman I was talking with, who had visited all the cemeteries, accompanied by her husband) — at the Dawson Trail Museum! She told me this was how she landed the task of being paid to visit and document cemeteries for a few weeks on end. (I don’t think I’ve ever been more jealous of anyone!) She is the powerhouse behind the Dawson Trail Museum so I will need to haunt that location this summer and find her for a followup!

Before we left I took a walk around the site and saw that many people were camping there, before accompanying the Jeromes on their journey (they were leaving the next morning on horseback along the Dawson Trail). There was even a band playing! I’m sure if we had stayed longer I would’ve seen folks dancing into the night.