I love caves. They are an important part of my life.
     When I was a student at Birmingham-Southern College, a couple of my friends (Lee Alexander and RB West) enjoyed researching obscure aspects of Alabama history, then going out and visiting the locations where events took place. I joined them in this, and we saw a number of interesting places from Alabama's rich past: the Tannehill and Brierfield Furnaces before they became public parks, the haunting ruins of the Forks of Cypress antebellum mansion, the then-still-standing Chandler Springs Hotel, and many others.
     One of the places we visited was Bangor Cave, site of a scandalous speakeasy-gambling casino in the 1930s, the ruins of which are still visible (although the cave is privately owned and now off limits). We toured the front part of the cave, observing the old ticket booth, the stone bar where the state's prohibition laws were flaunted, the dance floor and bandstand, the "back room" where patrons could avail themselves of various (illegal) games of chance, and, even farther back, near the cave's #2 entrance on the other side of the hill, the remnants of a series of small rooms – wonder what those could have been used for? Heading back through the cave, we climbed down a side crevice into a lower level stream passage to exit via the #3 (spring) entrance. I loved it! This trip through Bangor Cave was the beginning of a lifelong fascination with caves and the underground world.
     I have been an active caver since 1971, and a member of the Birmingham Grotto of the National Speleological Society since 1974. Valerie and I are charter members of the Alabama Cave Survey, and I now have the honor of being a Fellow of the NSS.