Four-year-old Adelaide from Cheverly, Maryland, is a curious kid. Although the pandemic has made it tough to meet new friends, she has become socially distant friends with a neighbor’s knight, Sir Donald.
On one of Adelaide’s walks through the neighborhood with her mom, they stopped at the neighbor’s knight statue and left a note to say hello. It wasn’t long before “he” wrote back and asked to be pen pals.
Adelaide now stops at the house every week to leave a note for Sir Donald, and every time, the knight has a note for her in return.
Kelly Carnes, the owner of the knight and author of his letters, looks forward to it just as much as Adelaide.
“Adelaide has been such a joy during the pandemic,” Carnes said.
The knight has a deeper meaning for Carnes — it’s a symbol of a past friend. Donald Hurlburt, a museum photographer who had a passion for people and a love for silly smiles, was killed in a car crash six years ago by a wrong-way driver.
He had a knight statue outside his house in D.C. So when Carnes saw a statue like his at a store, she said it felt like fate.
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“We love to keep his memory alive in fun ways, because that’s the type of joy that he brought to our lives,” Carnes said.
“If he knew his knight had struck up a friendship with a 4-year-old girl during a pandemic, it would tickle him," Carnes said. "He would be delighted.”