Mufti Appreciation

The GFH3 officially celebrated Sunday 16 June 2013, its 31st anniversary, as Mufti Appreciation Day.  Most everyone chipped in for gifts, signed a portrait of our fearless leader, applauded raucously, and expressed appreciation in word, thought and deed.

A special-edition t-shirt to celebrate the great day, and moreso this great man, will ensure that Mufti Appreciation remains a tangible presence in our hash forever.  Further, several hashers have contributed to the Mufti Appreciation Book with statements of affection and respect and some lovely reminiscences.  That Valiant's entry fails to chronicle who won that long-ago chess match is surely a simple oversight.

If you'd like to add to the Mufti Appreciation Book, please do (contact me via e-mail or at the hash).  There's plenty of space for your thoughts or thanks or whatever you'd care to contribute.  To read what others have said so far, click here or just keep reading:

MC Ole Fud and Honoree Mufti

Mufti Appreciation Day Master of Ceremonies The Ole Fud:
The ghosts of hashers past reside in the lists maintained by you-know-who.  There are found Bob Clark, Kathy Walsh, Doug Greco, Mike Murphy, Bob Ozols, Jay Rini—originals all along with Duncan Ritchie.
Also in the recorded annals appear Hufstutler, Wilson, Quale, Neilson, Soges, Raymond, and Kenner—early to join and long to stay running.  But almost none of these stalwarts are still with us.  Many worthy GFH3 hounds have fallen by the wayside, victims of excess orthopaedic challenge or simple sloth.  But a handful soldiers on of the Gurr recruits.  One of them stands out from all the others past and present.  He has been called many things:
“Durable”   “Hard core”   “Gerry-atric”   “Too Dumb to Stop (TDTS)”.
For some 1,000 runs, he has simply been referred to as “The Mufti”.  What is a mufti?  It is a most honorable title given to persons of clerical persuasion and very advanced learning in Muslim cultures.  A mufti must have mastered the Arabic language, must be able to interpret sharia law, must fully comprehend social realities, must be familiar with all religions, must be able to cite the Prophet, and must be able to utter judgments like a lawyer.  When he does the latter, the mufti has issue a Fatwa.

There are many official muftis all across the Islamic world.  There are none in the USA (yet).  Yet, our Mufti can easily do all the things an official appointment would require.  He shouts our names in Arabic.  He interprets hash law—itself not too distant from sharia.  He is familiar with all religions and he certainly comprehends social realities—after all he is a hasher and enjoys a made-in-the-Hash marriage.  He regularly quotes the Prophet to me and others on our walks together, and the number of his Fatwas is legion.  I therefore propose that we nominate our Mufti for official status and, if you agree, will figure out how to do that.  In the old days, it was the Ottoman Empire and the British who handed out official mufti status.  Indeed, the Ottoman Empire had a senior person responsible for all religion and who was entitled to pass judgment on such things as the tenure of rulers.  He was always called “The Grand Mufti”.  Ours should not, in my opinion, have any lesser title and should be addressed from now on, assuming I have achieved official status for him, as “The Grand Mufti of Great Falls”.

I hereby pass the mike to our one and only…Grand Mufti (in waiting) for a few words.

Enjoying a made-in-the-hash marriage...
A few comments on the Mufti:

Gerry and I go back a long way. We worked in the same office in CIA in 1969 when I first started there.  I first met his wife Gwen in the early 1970s when I visited their home in Falls Church to play him in an office chess tournament.

Then in 1976, when Gerry was my branch chief at CIA, I told him that my wife and I needed to move to a bigger house, and we had found a new housing development in Great Falls with well-priced homes called Lexington Estates.  That weekend, Gerry and Gwen had a look, and bought a house in the same neighborhood.  Our kids all went to Great Falls elementary school together in the same bus, and it was only natural that when I joined the Great Falls HHH in 1982 at their second run, I invited Gerry to join also.  The rest is history.  We had many of our early Hash runs in the first four years of hashing from either his or my house in Lexington Estates off of Springvale Rd.  Dan Sheridan was a nearby neighbor, and he joined too.

Another story.  I don't exactly remember how Gerry got the name Mufti (can anyone help), but when he did, I saw an ad in the Washington Post for a party hat story in Alexandria that had hats for all occasions.  So I asked Gwen what size hat Gerry wore, and I think she said 8 1/2.  So I went down a bought the largest Turkish fez they had in the store, and it fit.  Again, the rest is history.  I think we all would agree that no one can call the roll, keep the books, or host our annual anniversary awards ceremony like the Mufti.  May he long endure.

On! On! Bob Vickers

There are many ways of showing appreciation.

Subject:Re: Mufti Appreciation Book
From:   Oleta

Pete and I were talking this morning about funny Mufti experiences and both agreed that the run he set a hundred years ago (when he lived in Lexington Estates next to Vickers) after everyone got to the run and they were waiting for the "Hash Brief" it started snowing so that when they finally got it together to send everyone out it was impossible to see the marks.

Pete brought up that he was running along with Mufti (who had to go and lead the pack) and John Gurr and Mufti was complaining that it took him two hours to set the course and John Gurr's response was that if he only took ten minutes to check the weather the whole 're run/setting' experience wouldn'd be happening. AND that was the run where the pack was coming back on G'town Pike towards Springvale and making a right onto Springvale to go back to Mufti's house when out of the snow storm a couple of horses were running on Springvale -- it always stands out in my mind as a great run.

The Mufti receives a Metro pass for a recent run -- and oh, how I wish we had a photo of him running past horses on snowy Springvale "a hundred years ago."

Subject: RE: Mufti Appreciation Book
From: Ingrisano

The Mufti and the Muster

I have been asked for a few appropriate remarks to mark the occasion of the GFH3’s 31st anniversary and in particular a salute to our Grand Mufti, the honorable Gerry Dargis.  That I might do this much like my secular saint AL accomplished in a dedication on November 19, 1863, nearly six score years before the birth of this HASH would be a considerable accomplishment for a man of letters, a juris doctorate and natural New York wise guy and blowhard!  But here goes:

The Mufti has steered this group of runners in search of suds, cum walkers and winos through some pretty tough trails; fraught with dangerous turns and tree crossings, gopher holes, and deer pack attacks, where he has twice thrown his body in front of the herd to deliver his flock safely; and, swampy and invested marsh, tall grass with tics embedded everywhere and liable to crawl up places on a hasher that no homo sapien wishes to examine; summer storms swelling streams up to every armpit, gale winds on the Potomac threatening to block our path back to the beverages; driving blizzards and sub-zero conditions; irate landowners brandishing shot guns, police calls following the trail of our freshly laid anthrax – all so perilous, and, the most dangerous of all tasks – keeping the Rock Star out of the middle of Route 193.

Who could do this for 30 years?  Only someone with half a mind and many extra helpings of kindness, respect, friendship and love.  It is true that you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends. And through every bad twist and turn of your life a hasher has her friends.  Always.  A place where you can hug and speak free of the politically correct police.

The Mufti makes this all very special to the ancient hasher and the newcomer.  And it forms around the Muster – the roll call, the “Calling of the Roll;” the most anticipated event in a slow week of programming.  Plates drop, conversations slow and reduce to a whisper (Nah!), a hush rises above the group spread around libations without napkins, faces stained by condiments, pizza sauce and red wine – heads turn to hear their name recited in the Muster – “did you call my name?’ -- “how many do I have?”—“are you sure?’—demands for an audit --- the suspense rings but is quelled by the familiar and erudite accent – the Mufti – the Grand Hasher – the living legacy of more than 1400 mindless exercises.

And this is a position that cannot be filled by anyone.  Any substitute is a poor, pathetic puppet!  But what is best said of the Mufti and the Muster is this: “HE KEPT THE ROLL; HE KEPT THE FAITH; HE KEPT IT FUN!”

So on on – remember this is supposed to be a few appropriate remarks and I’ve far exceeded 262 words.  So here goes in 50 words or less:

Mufti, – thank you for a generation and ½ of effort, kindness, love and respect.  You have made us all friends, as you call to order and close every summer and winter season.  We have each other, and you and a few others to thank for that.  Best of health always.

Associate Mufti makes appropriate obeisance to the Grand Mufti of Great Falls (in waiting).

A Mufti Vignette:  The Strange Tale of Hank Ascher

This took place probably about 25 years ago.
Many in the hash had noted that despite the Mufti's obvious intelligence and acumen, he at times, exhibited a kind of vagueness about some of the more subtle manifestations of hash life.  On some occasions, and particularly at roll call, it appeared that, well yes, he didn't quite get it. 

A few of us, taking advantage of any vulnerability within the group, decided we might add to some of the Mufti's apparent confusion by creating a fictitious hasher.
We decided to name him Hank Ascher.
We took a very subtle approach.  During roll call, someone would mention that Hank Ascher was there but had to leave early, etc, etc.  Through some subterfuge, Hank's name eventually appeared on the A list and was called every run.  Knowing as we do that you have to run with the hash for a year before anyone knows your name, or will even talk to you, we figured the Mufti would think that Hank was just one of those Unknowns that are vaguely hanging around before they finally get a hash name.
Every once in a while after calling Hank's name, the Mufti would look up to the sky in honest puzzlement and ask himself out loud, “Have I ever really seen this guy?”
Believe it or not, this went on for about a year, and every time Hank's name was called, the chuckles increased.  Eventually, even the Mufti sensed something was not quite right.
We, sensing as well that the game might be close to the finish, decided to go one step further.  We introduced Hank's wife as a new member of the hash.  Her name was Anita Dick.  Anita was elusive as well, but given her name, we were all anxious to share an intellectual conversation with her.  I think Anita ran a few runs before the final calling of Hank Ascher and his wife Anita Dick produced such disruptive hilarious behavior that the game was finally over.
Long live the Mufti, Anita and Hank.
Bill Brent

Pranksters contemplating future tricks to play on the Mufti.

What on earth was THAT? 

Probably the first time I talked with the Mufti was in June 2005, when Reid was deathly ill in ICU – but more important, was going to MISS THE ANNIVERSARY RUN!  His #1 priority for me was to contact the Mufti (self:  “What Mufti?  What is a Mufti?”) and beg pardon.  Needless to say, while acceptance was freely forthcoming, there would be no pardon.  But I hung up the phone thinking, “He actually seems like a perfectly normal, courteous person, despite the peculiar name and odd club he leads.  Or whatever he does.”
A few months later, I met the Mufti in person for the first time (it would be weeks longer before I discovered that he had a regular name) at a Hash.  And my first impression was entirely correct:  a perfectly normal, courteous person, demonstrating dignity, graciousness and kindness to a newcomer.  About ninety minutes later...
There was a TREMENDOUS roar from behind me and to the right, and I leapt around to discover what on earth was THAT, whilst the multitude around me hollered something unintelligible.  Then ANOTHER roar, and I realized the source – was that dignified, gracious gentleman everyone called Mufti.  I backed quietly away, fear grappling with amazement.

Lynne has remarked several times on the change that comes over Gerry at roll-call time.  “He’s never like this usually,” she says, or approximately that.  It is a part of the Mufti Magic, I think, that his usual grace and reserve are packaged around a reservoir of extroversion, and that he generously shares that rollicking, powerful, extrovert piece, in dramatic chunks, with the Hash.  Thank you, Mufti.  Thank you ever so much.


One thing you really don't want to do is get between the Mufti and Air Horn at roll-call time.

Gerry (aka Mufti):
We have both been through several trials and tribulations that try ones sanity and souls but yet we have persevered and have become better persons. One thing, however, is constant and that is the Great Falls Hash House Harriers. For over 30+ yeas we have known each other and have supported one another through some trying times. The Hash always provided a safe haven. The runs and accompanying libations provided a sense of relief both physically and psychologically. You have been the steadfast titular leader of the GFHHH through thick and thin. You have performed that role with grace and consistency that is foundational to the GFHHH.

You deserve this day of appreciation and recognition. It is fitting.

Your friends and fellow Hashers,

Rob and Marie Neilson
aka Dr. Pecker, PhD and Boobabella

PS - I hope we are still on the "A" list.


No comments:

Post a Comment