Happy Birthday, Hanspeter Nikolai

watchThis gift comes to you via multiple messengers. One of them Gravel-Fritz, as he was known, because he did shady “gravel” deals up and down the Rhine Valley, in Switzerland. Fritz spent even more time in solitary confinement than your most immediate male ancestor.

Let me explain the engraving on the back of this watch:

There’s a secret association of Jailbirds in Switzerland. “Bau” is slang for Jail. “Meisterengraving is german for master, and “Verband” is german for bandage. You know, the cloth strips you wrap around people’s wounds after they got beat up real bad…. So the word “Bau-Meister-Verband” is the equivalent of “Jail-Master-Bandages”. The word “President” above, while seeming dignified, is really just a cruel joke: The top guy of getting in trouble. Sort of like in the US…

These people know all about serving “Time”. It’s a chronic affliction. It’s easy to understand what the chain symbolizes… 1971-1988. Seventeen years in the “Bau”!

Sargans and Werdenberg are two places in the Rhine Valley, where concrete shoes were invented. Yep. Concrete. Another thing that people often associate with Fritz, your grandfather.

Surprisingly, no fitting of that heavy footwear was successful with your opa. When it became known, almost 30 years ago, that he had grandfathered his first grandson, in 1987, it took another year for him to be be released from the “Bau”. The enclosed watch commemorates that occasion. Only a few years were left to him, before Zeus, the ancient Greek god of lighting, launched a very personal attack against Fritz. It was a near miss. Your grandfather died from it a few days later. No verband (bandage) was able to help. His clock stopped ticking.

The watch is now yours.

Love, Andy Flinn.

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Andy Flinn

A songwriting multi-instrumentalist, performer, producer, engineer.

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