A page a day

Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Happy birthday Dad

It’s amazing how many places I go where I meet people who know my father. They remember him for his writing.

“I read your Dad’s book! I loved it!” somebody told me recently. “Hey, I saw your Dad’s comment on that New York Times story, please tell him thank you, will you?” asked a high school classmate. “Are you related to THE William Etling?” I’ve been asked.

That last one I laugh at a lot, because I’m lucky to be related to BOTH of THE William Etlings, and they’re equally fabulous, my brother and my dad.

Only recently I’ve noticed my brother adopting many of my Dad’s habits – like being very quiet in a room full of people, taking in the conversations, but thinking his own thoughts – and spending lots of time on home improvement projects. Perhaps we all become our parents. This means I’m headed for a few less inches of height and size 2 clothes (thanks, Mom!)

My father loves good books and good rock music, being outside and living in the woods, documenting beautiful places with photography and having his family close. In the past few months he’s built an amphitheater, lighted the exterior of the ranch with spotlights and lanterns, created bridges and sweet sitting spots, blazed trails and painted the house, all for the sake of my brother and Abigail’s upcoming wedding. Oh, and he also singlehandedly remodeled my grandmother’s rental property in Santa Maria, working 12 hour days and thrashing his body to get the job done. My dad hates to be bored and he loves working hard. (Coincidentally, my mother is the same way.) They’ve passed on these traits, which is why I sleep well at night.

Recently I wrote a post about how everything I know about apartment renting I learned from my father, which is true.  I know I’ve raved about my father on this blog before, but I don’t think we can ever thank our parents too many times for the gifts they give us, and I’m lucky to have a couple of ringers who brought me up. I wasn’t an easy kid, but they never gave up on me, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Happy birthday, Dad.

William II, Debra, and William Etling (Snickers and Andy, foreground)

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