It all started with tomatoes.
Bryan and Anika Rychner have lived next door to Erling Kindem, a WWII vet, for nearly a decade, giving the neighborly wave every once in a while. But that was about it.
Then last year, their son Emmett, 2 years old at the time, struck up a conversation with his 89-year-old neighbor.
“Every time he saw me out there he would come running over,” Kindem told KARE-TV, recalling how Emmett would say ‘Erling, got any ‘matoes?’”
Their relationship blossomed from there.
“His patience is unbelievable,” Bryan Rychner told the news station of Erling.”He sees Emmett outside playing, he’ll find a reason to go outside.”
The pair have ridden bikes together, raced lawnmowers (Emmett’s is a motorized toy) and played croquet. Kindem even made sure their visits could continue in the winter, using his snowblower to create a path between their back doors.
Watch KARE’s report about the touching friendship:
It is bittersweet for the Rychners that they are soon going to move to accommodate their bigger family.
“He’s just taught him so much,” Emmett’s mother said, shedding a tear.
KARE reported that for the family, leaving Kindem was the hardest part of their decision.
“I told him ahead of time there was going to be a ‘for sale’ sign in our yard,” Anika Rychner said. “Then I went in the house and I cried for about an hour.”
The house didn’t take long to sell.
But Kindem wasn’t alone in the news. KARE reported he too recently decided to move to a senior apartment that is better equipped to handle the needs of his wife.
“It’s tough,” Kindem said of he and his friend Emmett’s upcoming moves.
“I love him,” Emmett said of his friend in the news report.