Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eldorado: The Place to Be!

I would like to tell you more about the West Texas town of Eldorado, where Tanner was born and raised.

Let’s start with the facts. Eldorado is the county seat of Schleicher County. Eldorado is the only town in Schleicher County. Eldorado is the best town in Schleicher County! Boo-ya!

The town sits at the top of the Edwards plateau (Welcome to Eldorado: Top of the Divide Elevation 2,439!), and it’s surrounded by plenty of beautiful West Texas landscape -- and deer, lots of 'em. The proof is in the bar ditch, on the side of the road, in the middle of the road and on grill guards, in bits and pieces. The proof is also in the hunters who flock there during deer season.

About 1,800 people live in Eldorado. For comparison, my high school in Katy, Texas, has about 1,100 students in each graduating class. But size is not everything. It’s about personality! Or maybe I should say it's about THE personalities. A large part of what makes Eldorado great are the people.

Tanner (left) with Matt, Ross and Andrew

Most of Tanner's childhood friends are still his closest and most loyal friends today. Built on a foundation of shared experiences, faith, heart-to-hearts and plenty of mudding, hunting, bbq-ing, road trips and farting competitions, those friendships that have survived going off to different colleges, getting married, having babies and settling down in various big cities and small towns are priceless. Relationships like those are one of life's greatest treasures, and for Tanner, those treasures began and grew in his home town.

Eldorado Eagles - Class of 2002!

Eldorado was small and safe, so boys could be wild, adventurous and out on their own without parents worrying. It was remote and and surrounded by rugged, beautiful country, so it was the perfect place for hunting, off-road excursions, swimming-hole trips, and camping. It was tight-knit, a real community, so that your friends' parents simply became your second parents, letting you sleepover and raid their pantry, carting you around and cheering you on at games (or complimenting the "interesting" things you made in welding class, in Tanner's and Jason's cases).

Scott (left), Andrew and Tanner head off on a road trip

Growing up in Eldorado was like growing up surrounded by your extended family. It's an extended family that celebrates with you or takes care of you when your struggling. It's a family that follows you even when you leave Eldorado. It's a family welcomes your wives, husbands and children with open arms.

One big family

I love Eldorado because it had a huge part in making Tanner who he is, and I love who he is! Outdoorsy, country, adventurous, fearless, mechanical, tough, fiercely loyal, loving, hard working and with a great sense of humor and passion for life!

I love Eldorado because Tanner's friends became such an important part of my life. My best friend, Summer, introduced me to Tanner after she began dating Andrew, one of Tanner's best Eldo buds. Summer and Andrew got married two years before us, are expecting a baby, and despite the fact that they live in Colorado and we don't see them as often as we'd like, Tanner and I could probably say there are few people on earth we feel closer to. Andrew's mom, Liz, also helped me plan my wedding, and his dad, Andy, married me and Tanner.

Tanner and I with Andrew and Summer

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn't end there or anywhere near it! Tanner lived with Andrew, Jason, Thomas and Scott all through college. The stories of Jason and Tanner together as little boys are hilarious, and those two are so alike, it's scary. Jason and Tanner have inhaled welding fumes side-by-side for years, and now they work side-by-side in the oilfield at the same company! Jason and his wife, Susannah, are two of our go-to people in Weatherford for everything from a fun night out to "Can you please feed the horses?" And we know we even could on Jason's parent's, who live close by, for a favor anytime if needed to.


And now

Although Thomas passed away in 2005, I feel like he is with us both everyday. I can't imagine my life without his family, the Ballew family, in it, and I love popping over to see Ray and Debbie -- and which ever kiddo happens to be in town -- most every time we go to Eldo.

Andrea, Tanner and Thomas in college

With Debbie and Ray at my bridal shower, hosted by the First Presbyterian Church

I could go on an on. From Wesley and Matt meeting us out at the River House whenever we're in New Braunfels to catching up with Jeff and his beautiful new wife, Lori, at Summer's baby shower in Katy to random visits from Tana or facebook-ing with Hallie, the people of this lil' West Texas town have become such a part of my heart.

But that's all from my perspective. And this is supposed to be a newlywed blog. Contrary to how it may appear at times, I am in fact not married to myself. Ha! I have heard COUNTLESS Eldo memories, recollections, tall tales and highly entertaining stories from Tanner over the six years we have been together. On a recent road trip to none other than Eldorado, I got Tanner started on the subject of home sweet home, then pulled out my laptop and transcribed as he talked. I've done it a few time since then, and I'm putting together a nice compilation of Eldorado stories and childhood memories that I plan to share on my our blog.

Be prepared! And keep an eye out for Ye Old Eldorado Stories, because they're good... and the pictures, they're even better!


  1. The Dallas airport is the only place I've ever been in Texas, but I've always been so impressed by how proud Texans are to live in their great state! What a great post about a great little town. One of these days I'll have to come and check it all out for myself!

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