For years, all during the 1940s, my father was searching for a place in the country where he could relive his early years riding horses and tending sheep.
Finally, in 1950, he found his dream place, Fairfield Farm in Hume, Virginia, not too far from Front Royal, Virginia. He acquired several hundred acres at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was about an hour's drive from Washington.
Through the 50s, 60s and 70s – in fact, until he passed away in 1985 – Fairfield Farm was my father's favorite spot to visit. He acquired several horses which were rather wild as they were very seldom ridden. But my Dad could ride them all and was never even close to being thrown off. In fact, he had been riding since he was a small boy. I can’t say the same about some of his guests, including E.T. Benson, Eisenhower’s secretary of agriculture; and George Romney, Mitt Romney's father. Both were thrown off of Dad’s wild horses.
Thanksgiving dinner at Fairfield became an annual family event. My Mom would cook the turkey with all the trimmings. My wife, Donna, and I and all of our children would join with my folks and my brother Dick and his wife, Nancy, and their four children.
Now my parents have passed on, but the tradition continues. Dick and I and our families eat turkey at the farm on alternate years. But things have changed. The wild horses are gone, replaced by several more docile, sleepy ones used by visitors on trail rides and they never fall off. There aren’t very many sheep left and we certainly do engage in different activities. My sons come ride trail bike motorcycles; they play a lot of flag football. But the turkey dinners are the same, and of course we in the couch potato category love to watch the NFL on the big TV screens.
We also take time to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all His many blessings -- for good health, for great food, for enduring love to one another and for our testimonies that God lives and there is eternal life beyond the grave. We all feel my Dad and Mom are smiling down from above as we celebrate another wonderful Thanksgiving at Fairfield Farm.
I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.