A snowy memory
Father builds wintry fort to honor family’s first snow together
By Sherry Matthews Editor
This week’s snow event is one 7-year-old Ryan Freeman won’t soon forget.
Not only did the Kerr Elementary student get a chance to go sledding with his family, but he also had the opportunity to entertain some of his young friends in his very own igloo, built courtesy of his dad Craig.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” the 7-year-old said about first seeing the large igloo constructed in the yard of his nana and papa, Kim and Chris Fann on Coharie Drive.
It was the first snow he, dad Craig and mom Casi were able to enjoy together as a family, and Freeman wanted to do something special for the youngster, something he wouldn’t soon forget.
The igloo was just the trick.
Grandmother Kim Fann said Freeman, a civil engineer with the Department of Transportation in Raleigh, started bringing out white buckets after the first snow began to fall Tuesday night, stating his intention to construct the igloo. The buckets, she said, reminiscent of those her mother used to pick butter beans in, would serve as the bricks for the soon-to-be-built wintry fort.
“He was so excited about the chance to do something special for Ryan,” Fann said. “You could see it all over his face.”
The youngster, Fann said, was just as excited, walking around confidently saying that he just knew his dad could build anything, even an igloo.
“It was so cute and so sweet,” Fann attested.
Armed with a strong desire to build a memory for his son, Freeman went to work using the white buckets and the fallen snow to design something unique for young Ryan.
Fann said it was basically a two-day process, with Freeman putting in countless hours to get the fort constructed. “He worked and worked on that thing. The second day is when he put in the most hours. We had gone sledding and we were away three hours, when we returned, there it was.”
The wide-eyed youngster couldn’t believe his eyes when he came home, his grandmother said.
“I was really excited,” Ryan confirmed. “It was so neat.”
So neat, in fact, that the 7-year-old quickly invited his friends — 4 of them to be exact — to come over to play with him in the snowy fortress. “We had a good time,” Ryan said, stressing that dad Craig, however, was just too big to fit inside the icy doorway.
“He couldn’t get in,” the youngster stated matter-of-factly.
But young Ryan wasn’t going to go without trying to reward his dad for the surprise, either.
“I wanted to give him five dollars,” the youngster acknowledged. “I wanted to give it to him because he built me such a cool igloo.”
Ryan said he had enjoyed the snow and, in fact, had gone out on Friday with Fann to enjoy a couple more rounds on the sled before the sun melted away the last of the winter wonderland that blanketed Sampson earlier in the week.
But it’s the igloo that has captured most of his attention, and his time.
“I’ll never forget this,” Ryan proclaimed. “It’s the best.”
And that, after all, was what Freeman had hoped all along — to give his son a special memory of the first 2014 snow in Sampson.
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