Children make Franklin’s streets a playground

Published 10:14 am Friday, January 24, 2014

Elizabeth Russell, 10, and Kim Fresen, watch Katie, 8, and Sarah Fresen, 10, go down the hill. -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Elizabeth Russell, 10, and Kim Fresen, watch Katie, 8, and Sarah Fresen, 10, go down the hill. — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Every time it snows, the Russell family of Franklin comes out to sled down Third Avenue Downtown.

“It’s the steepest hill in town,” said Elizabeth Russell, 10. “Except for maybe Homestead.”

Unfortunately, Homestead isn’t as isolated from traffic, as is the road by Franklin Baptist Church, said her father, Dean. She had asked to try sledding down Homestead. Not one to be discouraged at that moment, she simply got back on her sled and went down the hill again.

“It’s good,” Elizabeth said. “It’s cold, but good. I’m having fun sledding.”

This year, they were joined by the Fresen family, also of Franklin. Sisters Sarah and Katie brought a plastic sled to go down the hill together in — though they also took turns with the metal sleds and traded with Elizabeth, until the pair figured out that the plastic sled worked better.

“I think it is really awesome and fun,” said Katie, 8. “We ride faster together.”

Their mother, Kim, who watched them play from the top of the hill, said the girls were hoping for snow this year.

“It’s nice,” she said. “It would have been nice if we had a little more, but it should be better tonight.”

It’s a tradition, Kim said.

“My mom remembers when the city would shut down the hill a street over,” she said of Second Avenue. “The city used to close it off, and people would come sled down it.”

Dean said he usually cleans the church parking lot with his tractor, but this year he said that the good Lord had done it for him before he arrived.

“So far it’s good, it’s just not enough snow,” he said. “We’ve been playing Monopoly all morning, and after lunch we decided to come sledding.”

Katie said that she and her friends also woke up earlier and went to the dog park to have a snowball fight.

At that moment, however, the dog park was being used by, well, dogs. Alex Falcone had decided to take Lupa out, and there Lupa met Koda, Elizabeth Carter’s dog.

“They are loving it,” Carter said. “The snow adds to the play.”

“I think so,” added Falcone. “Every now and again, they will reach down and bite a chunk of snow. They’ve been going non-stop.”

“This is the first time these two have ever played,” Carter continued. “They’ve been going at it for more than an hour.”

That’s not to say that snowball fights couldn’t be found. Down the road near Norfleet Street, Kaitlynn Randall, 10, Skylar Bunn, 8, Anthony Bunn, 10, and Helene Kimlick, 9, were all out playing in the snow.

After a good snowball fight, Helene suggested that they should build snowmen, but that thought was quickly abandoned when Kaitlynn noticed that Anthony and Helene were making snowballs instead of a snowman, and she broke that up with a snowball of her own.

Like many children do, they also decided to try some of the snow.

“It tastes good,” said Anthony. “You wouldn’t think it would, but it does.”