Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Founder Has Completed His Final Run

John Gurr, 1936-2013, Founder of the Great Falls Hash House Harriers, in a photo from 2010 or 2011.
Ole Fud informs me that John Gurr, also known as Last Call, died yesterday morning, Monday 29 April.  While Last Call hadn't run with GFH3 regularly in recent years, he did visit occasionally.  If you had a chance to walk with him and hear his stories and opinions, you know what a very wonderful man he was.  Even if you didn't, if you've ever joined the Hash he began almost 31 years ago, you can probably figure it out.

From John's widow, Mary:

"As John's hospice aide said, "He has completed his journey." He died peacefully on Monday, April 29th at the memory care facility in Charlottesville.

"Brian, Chris, and I are making the preparations for his "Celebration of Life" service to be held this Sunday, May 5th at 1:30 pm. The location is Rockfish Presbyterian Church, 5016 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford, VA 22958. (www.rockfishpresbyterian.org)  Following the service, the family invites everyone back to the Gurrs' house to attend a reception in John's honor.

"If any out-of-towners would like to stay in our beautiful valley, please call Enoka, who will coordinate guest room offers from our neighbors with people coming in. 

"The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in John's name to the Alzheimer's Association. (http://act.alz.org/goto/johngurr

"John was a good sport to the end. He never complained or whined, even as his mind--and body--were deteriorating. As hard as the last few years have been, we really miss him already."

 I shall bring Mary's contact info to Saturday's hash for those of you who would like to send a condolence.

Thanks to Radar for the photos, which I pulled from his GFH3 gallery.

In 2007, at the 25th Anniversary run, the Mufti presented a list of the top-ten GFH3 runs.

Topping the culvert/boom box run, the bus/kayak run, the Metro run, the snowy run, etc., the #1 run was the first GFH3 run of 23 June 1982, organized by John "Last Call" Gurr following a hash he enjoyed during a business trip to Costa Rica the month before.
Last Call came forward to accept the accolades of a grateful Hash...
...and a cake, which inspired him to a gracious speech...
and an impressive candle-extinguishing effort.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,694; 27 April 2013

There's a singer/songwriter/guitarist who lives in or near Charlottesville named Jan Smith, who's well worth looking up if you like folk music.  She's got one song, "Half the Treasure," that includes the lyric, "Virginia's a jewel in the spring/She's too bright and green/For any king's crown."  That was certainly the case in Loudon County today, where the hash convened in Lovettsville at Richard and Sally's for our nearly-last Saturday meet of the 2012-2013 season.  Jewel green, with splashes of white and pink and yellow, and great swathes of golden sunshine pouring down from a brilliant blue sky, and it was almost like living in a king's crown.  That we were very nearly in West Virginia is practically irrelevant.

After all, if we get treated like this, what do we care how far we had to drive?  Plus, bonus points when we fill up with that cheap LoCo gas!  Sure, there may have been mutters of rebellion when people unfolded stiffened joints from vehicles and confronted the uphill slog to the house, but the hospitality awaiting on the deck, and the gorgeous day, soon had peace love and understanding flowing like wine.

So Richard gathered 35 or so runners and walkers, offered assurances that any running across private property was approved, and introduced the phrase, "YBF."  Funny how Bite Me knew what that meant...  Then most everyone jogged or walked back down the hill, and the runners struck out northwards whilst the walkers turned to the south (mostly).  There were marked trails for turkeys, eagles and walkers ("turtles" someone proposed), and one of the walkers noted, "Wow, they really did a lot of work for this."  I just hope they know how much we appreciate that effort.

Meandering through a crown jewel of an afternoon

The runners got a nice bit of shiggy to dampen their toes, and intersected with the walkers at a point where they all seem to have goofed up pretty badly, allowing them to jog past, mill about near, make abortive dashes in different directions around, etc., a very pretty pond and a few more cows.  Aren't cows lovely?  Anyway, they pounded back up yet another hill (what a lot of hills there are in Lovettsville!) whilst the walkers examined the "YBF" and turned 'round.  Funny moment:  a contingent of walkers decided to check out the beginning of the runners' trail, rather than stick to the out-and-back dirt road recommended, and Gale (who'd abandoned the runners'-trail idea after a late start and a bit of being lost) noted that the trail included a rocky stream, a good deal of mud and some nettles.  Go ahead, try to guess what those walkers chose.

In an apparent misunderstanding about just what constitutes a "turkey," the turkey trail totaled about six miles.  The eagles did about seven and a half.  Beautiful day for it.  Per Blow in the Hole, the eagle was a great trail for a really, really, really, really long time, though the vast field near the end was a bit daunting.  She also mentioned she was very pleased to have listened, at least a bit, to Richard's brief, so she knew what the toilet paper meant.

Back at the ranch, there was some sort of schnitzel, if I've got that right, baked potatoes, salad and potato salad, and a lovely purple cabbage dish.  All the trimmings, Black Box wine, Negra Modela and more, apple pie and ice cream, etc. etc.  And plenty of chairs even though almost no one (guilty here) remembered to bring lawn chairs as requested.  And a giant fire circle to help keep away the gnats.  And our brilliant, magnificent Mufti, wristbanded in advance of his surgery, hollering names and numbers, including the double 4s for Irene and 666 for Flowerkraut.  And they are friends!  ooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhh!

The fire circle - maybe eight feet in diameter? - a hostess and a handful of hashers.

Cobra Queen celebrated a birthday, and the hash celebrated with her, and a few people we don't see often enough got their threes and fours and stuff.  And Richard threw open the hot tub, which is cleverly sunk right into the deck, so you can settle in up to your neck and gaze out upon the distant mountains.  Life could be worse, you know?  You can see just how beautiful everything was in these here pix.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,693; 20 April 2013

About 35 people gathered at Spurt's in Sterling, amidst sunshine, blue skies, colorful flowers in spring bloom and happy birds trilling their delight.  Strac showed off his knee scar some more, Easy Strider peddled syrup from a saddle bag, and Maggy and Peanut and Cammy and Abby and Kylie bumped noses and chatted a bit.  The group divided up into a dozen or so walkers and four runners.  So who were all those other people, who started out on the runners' trail but wound up back at Spurt's long before the real runners did, without having experienced at least two spider checks, a double-back-check, and a short sprint through a back yard?  You may characterize them however you wish, assuming there are no impressionable children around when you're doing your characterizing.

Yes, it's true -- Spurt, Paddle My Candee Ass and Cockpit Ejeculator committed hours of their day, their considerable brainpower, and a few sacks of flour to creating a devious and inspiring trail, and two-thirds of the pack was too confused, sleepy, ungrateful or some combination thereof actually to follow it.  The discipline in this group is whatever the opposite of inspiring is.

Yes, that's a check.  Spurt is famous for this sort of thing.
The semi-runners also missed out on a small but highly entertaining playground.  I wonder what the photos show about that...

At least they didn't miss the On In, which was chock-a-block with excitement.  There was lasagna with rolls and salad, and wine in a black box, and beer and stuff.  And there was the Mufti calling the roll, and Byte Me carrying out a darned fancy chocolate cake, with a big fat candle, in celebration of Dave's birthday, and a bonus cake that looked like flan or cheesecake or something (too busy hoovering up the chocolate shavings to get a definite read on that), and a terrifying caterwaul that passed for singing, and a birthday boy who doesn't seem to have caught on quite perfectly to the speech-giving protocol (there are no rules), and there was Jess there for her first run, and finally there was the Mufti, double-checking his lists only to discover... (whispering) he made a mistake.

Turns out it was Joyce's 100th run, and the fez came out, and the nicknames considered were, almost without exception, absolutely stupid as could be (Cums with Novocaine?  Really?).  But the final choice was pretty entertaining:  Beef Strokemoff.  That's the kind of thanks you can expect for feeding this group home-cooked gourmet extravaganzas.


So Beef S. got her purple t-shirt, poignantly accepted the cup from her own daughter, took one mouthful of the beer-water-wine mix within, and, in tribute to her profession, rinsed briefly and spit the swill over the side of the deck.  Her heartfelt tribute to the joys (?!?) of hashing kept getting interrupted by cheers and shouting, so she quite reasonably gave up.  Probably wishes she'd tried that giving-up thing before she got a purple t-shirt that invites the world to think of her as "Beef Strokemoff."

I did not get a photo of the spitting, but most of the other stuff described is pictured here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,692; 13 April 2013

All right - who's turn was it to look after Valiant?  And what in the world was that person thinking in letting him get away, so he could go for a gentle run along the side of the Fairfax County Parkway, where there is not only no sidewalk, and a 50-mph speed limit, and plenty of traffic zipping by, but also really not much of a shoulder?  While there may be such a thing as acceptable loss, that does not apply to one of our most revered and respected nearly-founding members.  Let's all take a bit better care next time, shall we?

It's easy to understand people getting distracted, though, since the weather was beyond bee-yoo-tee-ful, and there was some eccentric cyclist riding a pennyfarthing on Herndon byways more accustomed to Treks and Cannondales.  But the discipline in this group always re-asserts itself, so about 35 hashers set out from Greg and Lori's to wend their circular ways through the streets and paths, paved and unpaved.  One hears rumors of backchecks, with The Manic Mechanic claiming to have predicted, and skipped, two.  And it is reasonable to believe the FRBs messed up badly somewhere along the way and short-cutted by a lot, as five or six of them finished about 20 minutes before the rest of the group jogged in past the fishpond.

We were all this happy today.

Additional distractions included a gorgeous blue heron that kept swooping about through the trees by the stream, and some lovely yellow flowers that seem related to orchids, and at least two grisly sites by the side of the path.  It's not easy to follow directions under those circumstances.  Plus, the information that Red Hot and Blue had provided the vittles, which is reason enough to shortcut.

So the FRBs got back to the deck, generously supplied with seating, not too long after the walkers did, and Lori set out great pans of barbeque and at least three kinds of salad (she garnished the Caesar with fresh lemon wedges -- who does that for a hash?), plus a fancy asparagus ravioli for the herbivores.  There were a few Tecates spotted amongst the Red Hooks, but the Duck Sucker was off in Florida, so the excitement over the beer selection may have been slightly more subdued than it might have been.

Mufti hollered the roll from an especially comfy chair, pausing about the middle so Brogue Bait and Pumpmaster (two of the FRBs; what a surprise) could bring out a cake for Air Horn's something-or-otherith birthday.  And Sarah celebrated run #1, and Joyce bravely accepted her 99th.  Oh, yes indeedy, there was a meeting of the executive committee.  I wonder what they came up with....

Couldn't be happier, in fact.
The neighbors showed up after all the shouting and exercising was over to help prevent leftovers, and Blazing Straddle made it home with both pups, despite Greg's recurring efforts to kidnap one.  It's unusual for the girls not to make it into the photos, but they didn't this week.  Proof is right here.

Tomorrow I'll post a link Greg sent me so you can see an aerial view of the route.  Or something.  And here it is; let us know what you think via the 'comments' option.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,691; 6 April 2013

Was it the beautiful weather -- warm, dry and sunny?  Or the frequent absences of Heater Beater and Suck Squeeze Bang from our hashes, making hearts grow fonder?  Or the thrilling possibilities of acres and acres of unexplored fields and not-quite forests?  Whatever the incitement, about 40 people drove for hours and hours and hours to get to what has got to be the westernmost-edge of Chantilly for today's hash from the Beater-Bang family's business address.  And many, many of us remembered to bring outdoors chairs as requested, which we set up in two or three circles on the back lawn, where we could reap the full benefits of that shining sun.

SSB was off picking up the vittles (with help from Peanut), so HB offered up a hash brief of commendable brevity, assuring the runners that their two crossings of Gum Spring were designed with the safety of hashers first in the priority line.  Then everybody headed south, the walkers determined to stay on just the one side of Gum Spring, thanks.

Warm-up exercise.  That football will later come perilously, and swiftly, close to the refried beans.
The runners got a lovely route that mercifully bypassed the plentiful brambles in the area, but gave everyone an opportunity to squish through a bit of mud and straddle a forgiving and flexible (and elderly) wire fence.  And the runners did a lovely job with the route, with the usual-suspect FRBs getting home before the walkers returned, and the more leisure-minded loping in a long time after that.

Lucky for them there was plenty of Peruvian chicken, rice and beans waiting, plus an actual Peruvian.  Jorge didn't run due to illness, but he did eat and drink and socialize.  The Duck Sucker was all of a doo-dah about the Tecate, though (maybe a little bit because?) it ran out early.  And SSB kindly grabbed the small amount of eggplant parm the initial horde hadn't molested and hid it for the lone vegetarian, still wandering the woods with camera in hand.  Much appreciated, SSB; very much appreciated.

Everyone is thinking, "Oh, it is so warm and nice.  If only this moment could last forever."

Mufti bellowed the roll, revealing Leita's #2, BC3's 490-something, and Joyce's 98th.  There will be a meeting of the executive committee the next time we see Joyce, so get those thinking caps on, exec commers.  Let's see... she's a dentist...  she has a daughter named Tasty Cakes...

About 30 minutes later, Mitch realized he'd missed roll call completely and approached the Mufti with the appropriate humble reverence to request his run -- good thing, too, as it was #33, the double threes, ooooooooh.  And then the sun started to duck in and out of the treeline, and everyone started to get chilly, and in ones and twos and fours, drove away.  See you next week at Greg's!

Pictures?  Sure, I got pictures.