Friendship knows no bounds, and nothing displayed this more than the unlikely friendship between Erling Kindem and Emmett Rychner, a WWII veteran and a six-year-old boy respectively.
The two originally met around four years ago when the then two-year-old Emmett saw Kindem working on his yard in their Minneapolis suburb and decided to join him with his toy shovel and wheelbarrow. The two quickly became fast friends that raced lawn mowers (with Emmett on a toy version of the machine), played croquet, rode bicycles, and grew tomatoes together. Kindem also shared stories about his time as a radio operator and gunner in World War II, while Emmett drew him pictures of B-24 bomber planes.
With Emmett’s family growing too big for their home and Kindem and his wife planning to move to a senior apartment, their time as neighbors together was sadly cut short two years ago; despite their new distance, they still regularly took time to hang out with each other.
“Erling was still driving when we moved away, so we would sometimes come home and find tomatoes from his garden on our front porch, or a note for Emmett with some other treasure he brought him,” Emmett’s mother, Anika Rychner, remembers. On other occasions, Rychner continues, “If we hadn’t visited in a while, Erling would call, and we would go visit, or sometimes the kids would say, ‘We should go see Erling,’ and we would stop on our way home from school.”
After Kindem’s wife passed away, his heart condition began to deteriorate and he finally moved to a nursing home with dedicated hospice care. With his condition worsening, Emmett went to visit him three days before his passing, where he read the World War II veteran a prayer.
Emmett’s parents walked him through the possibility of death as Kindem’s health began to decline, so he was able to handle the situation as best as any six-year-old could. His mother notes that “he has strong faith that he will see him again.”
Nothing beats the memories created with a true friend, and seeing the bond between Emmett Rychner and Erling Kindem shows the power a friendship can have. One can only hope to find a friend that is as loyal and as true as these two were for each other!
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[Source: TODAY ]