minneapolis, Minnesota -
(KARE) Over nearly a decade Bryan and Anika Rychner had little interaction with the elderly man next door.
At best, they'd flash a wave or say hello in passing.
That changed last year when their son Emmett, just 2 years old at the time, decided to pay Erling Kindem a visit.
"They kind of bonded over the tomatoes in his garden," said Ankia, "because Emmett loves tomatoes."
Now seeds planted in a garden have bloomed into an unlikely friendship between 3-year-old Emmett and 89-year-old Erling -- a World War II veteran who flew combat missions in Europe.
"Every time he saw me out there he would come running over," laughs Erling, remembering those early visits from the boy next door who would ask, 'Erling, got any 'matoes?'"
Soon Erling and Emmett were racing lawn mowers, Erling on his John Deere garden tractor and Emmet on his battery operated toy riding tractor.