According to her biographer, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings had two secret life time dreams: one was to win the Nobel Prize for literature and the other was to have a rose named after her. Silverthorne adds that although “neither of these dreams came true, they illuminate the things that were important to her.” Last year, one of these dreams did come true when two Florida Southern College professors, rose creator Malcom Manners and literature professor Keith Huneycutt collaborated in the creation and naming of a new rose after Rawlings. It was planted at the park last spring with the help of local rose specialist Art Wade, who bred the rose and created a small garden at the gate of the park. It is small bushy rose, hardy and adapted to the Florida climate. It has a lovely, yet simple flat-petaled flower with a warm rosy color.
Now it is summer at the Creek. In many ways, it is a lively time. Everything is growing and spreading. The young chickens and ducks, born in the spring, explore the farmyard as the grass and grove stretch and grow. On the trees, the tiny green balls that will become oranges and grapefruit and tangerines grow bigger and bigger until visitors become aware that what thought were limes, are actually oranges. As autumn returns, the color will begin to show and visitors can better guess which kind of fruit is growing on the trees.
The summer heat can also slow things down. The garden of vegetables and flowers has died back by the end of summer and people are moving more slowly. By afternoon, the chickens will dig holes in the shade of the sandy yard and lie on their sides, so still that some visitors worry that they may have died. No, they are just resting. A walk through the grove to see the tenant house or into the woods on one of the park’s two trails can be a refreshing excursion. If we are lucky, a quick storm will pass by to clear and cool the air. However, everyone takes care to dress comfortably for the sand and hot weather.
Please be aware that access to her home is suspended during the hot summer days of August through September for maintenance and restoration work. The park grounds will remain open for exploration but each room of the house will dismantled, cleaned and painted as needed. The furnishings, art works, books and other objects are assessed, cleaned and cared for – and repaired as needed. Much of the work done could not be accomplished while tours are going through the home.
Come back into the past and visit us at Cross Creek. Relax, take a deep breath and explore an old farm and some history you can go home and read about. We look forward to seeing you.