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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here's to blood, beer and ties that bind

By Charles Memminger

In hard economic times, one has to swallow one's pride and throw oneself on the mercy of one's family, which I've been trying to do with a vengeance.

The trouble is, Memmingers are thin on the ground in America. The ones I'm related to don't have two pennies to rub together, or Deutschemarks, either. I mention the Deutschemark because it is the traditional form of currency in the neck of the woods where Memmingers hail from that neck of the woods being Germany.

For the record, the genetic tributary of Memmingers from which I spawned, though hailing from Germany, never actually hailed IN Germany, as in "Hail Fuhrer!" Our band decamped the homeland after Napoleon overran the country, killing my great-great-great- (sprinkle greats as needed) grandfather, a German foot soldier, although apparently not a very fast foot soldier. Our strain of Memmingers eventually landed in America just in time for the Civil War. Sadly, they landed in the wrong part of America, a tad too far south, if you catch my drift. But after being on the losing end of TWO wars, things worked out and my great-great-great-grandfather, who had been secretary of the treasury of the Confederacy, was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and went on to become an eminently obscure historical figure.

Lately, I've been trying to make contact with some of the more prosperous Memmingers in Germany, on the theory that blood is thicker than a recession. My goal was to shamelessly throw myself on the mercy of my namesakes and demand a piece of their financial action. Alas, it's a shallow talent pool. I tried to track down a Michael Memminger, who apparently holds a patent on a "Device For Guiding The Leg During A Hip Operation, Particularly During An Endoprosthesis Implantation." He never got back to me.

Next was Peter Memminger, a partner in the Frankfurt firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, but I'm not clear on what he merges and acquires. He didn't return my e-mail.

I discovered a company called "Memminger-IRO" which brags, "When it comes to leading-edge processing technology for yarn infeeding, control systems and lubrication technology for knitting machines, we are the market leader." That kind of scared me so I passed.

My best bet for family employment, both in terms of financial stability and personal philosophy, seems to be Memminger Brewery (or, as we old German salts like to say, "Memminger Brauerei.") The company has been brewing beer since 1866 in Memmingen, Germany (good thing Napoleon was a wine drinker). It's presently owned by the Kesselschlager family and run by brothers Wolfgang and Jan, two gents I hope to soon get to know well. I think I'd be a great asset to the family beer dynasty, and it wouldn't hurt to have a real Memminger on the payroll. Hey, Wolfgang: Rufen Sie mich an! Call me.

Read Charles Memminger's blog at http://charleyworld.honadvblogs.com.