A Little About My Life

You don't get to be my age without having done some stuff - or at least you shouldn't! Here's a little of my history, where I have been, and what drives me. Many of these places and events have helped inspire some of these crazy tales that keep running through my head.

 

Spending several years in southern New Mexico would be wasted without exploring the truly fantastic underground caverns! There is a creepy fascination with spending nights underground in absolute darkness... hot and sand-blasted on the surface; cool, silent and bug free below ground.  
 
I was fortunate enough to be part of a Grotto that did some of the early exploration of Lechuguilla Cave - the 7th longest cave system in the world!
 
That's me getting a drink from the dripping spring in a shelter cave in Dog Canyon south of Alamagordo, and at my bearded best at the entrance to a hidden cave in the Jemez Mountains somewhere between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM.
Caving in the Wilds of New Mexico:
Army ROTC:
I was fortunate to be able to play around at being in the Army without making a commitment to service. The highlight was a summer spent at Ft. Knox, KY. That's some of my platoon sitting on top of a M60 "Patton" tank.
 
Ultimately, I decided that the Army life just wasn't for me. However, my time spent playing soldier left me with a deep appreciation for the efforts and sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform make. Thank you all, for your service and dedication!
I saw my first real toy soldier in a small shop near The Alamo in San Antonio TX, and I've been hooked ever since!
 
These expertly crafted and hand painted figures are simply fascinating to me; so much so that in the fall of 2013, and with a *ton* of help from my children and brother in law, we opened Steadfast Soldiers in Albuquerque's Historic Old Town.
 
Check us out on Facebook (facebook.com/SteadfastSoldiers) or via our Website:
SteadfastSoldiers.com
You may find something that you just can't live without!
 
Metal Toy Soldiers:
My wife and I have been blessed with four lovely and amazing children. Their are abour 20 years or so that, while a bit of a sleep deprived blur, was easily the happiest period of my life.
 
As home schooling parents we spent a lot of time with our children (well- my wife did at least). It has been an amazing journey to see them grow into adults.
 
There is nothing to compare with the warm embrace of a child that loves you and trusts in you completly. What I wouldn’t give to go back to those days again.
 
Enjoy these days as they pass all too quickly. Everybody says it and nobody believes it until it is too late. In Abraham Lincoln's words:
 
"It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: And this, too, shall pass."
Parenthood:
College Days:
I guess that I learned a lot of important stuff in College. At least I managed to get a degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Nuclear Chemistry (I was a *big* fan of fusion power in those days).
 
Mostly however, I learned to try and have some fun and to make the best of every day. I would not change that for any other experience.
 
It is a okay to be a little silly when you are young and in love... that's me in the blue dress and Army boots. That was also the first date with the love of my life and my wife of almost 30 years. (No, that's not her in the yellow dress!) 
 
And, yes, those are Christmas lights in my ears.
 
NMSU Rugby Football - The Chiles:
For me, playing college Rugby was true amateur sport... a bunch of sweaty guys slamming their heads together for an hour or so, then meeting up at someone's house for an evening of fun. Often, the host team would put the opposing team up for the night (Not a bad idea considering the type of fun that most Rugby players tend to enjoy!) 
 
Note the garish color scheme of NMSU's Rugby football team - The Chiles!
 
That's me, praying that the sweaty hoard doesn't come steamrolling my way!
Hockey:
I've always *wanted* to play hockey, but it took the prodding of my daughter in law to finially get me onto the ice. So, at the ripe old age of 50, having only skated a few times in my life and not even knowing the rules to the game, I finially gave it a shot. Hey, I know that it is just beer league beginner's hockey, but it has been a blast!
 
I am no longer the worst player in the league (well maybe) and I've had the great pleasure to be on the same team as both my daughter and daughter in-law (They both have the same name). Here's me holding up the Norskie cup celebrating Team Downing's league championship last December. 
Just Exploring:
While hardly an explorer, I have managed to see some pretty incredible places and have a few mini adventures along the way. I've seen much of the world... from Alaska to Florida (I've been to every US State), from Bulgaria to Patagonia, and from Hawaiian beaches to the frozen blizzards in Canada.
 
Here's a picture of me taking a cool head-bath at the very lip of Winn falls in the Chiricahua Wilderness of southern Arizona.
 
And... at the peak of Mt. Rainier in Washington state.
 
And... halfway up the 17,800 foot Popocatépetl in Mexico. While many headed to the beaches for spring break, my best friend and I took the train to Mexico City, explored the pre-Mayan ruins of Teotihuacan, climbed both the Pyramid of the Sun and Moon, and took a bus down to Amecameca for the climb of Popocatépetl.
Not bad for two guys who knew about a dozen words of Spanish between them! 
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© 2015 by David R. Downing