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Bob Lind, Published November 27 2013

Neighbors: A letter for ‘Daddy’s Little Girls’

Victor Gelking is a flier; he owns Vic’s Aircraft in Fargo. Yet he worked for the railroad for 41 years.

This meant, as railroad crew members well know, Vic was away from home a lot.

Concerned about his daughters’ thoughts on how he felt about them, he sat down one day and wrote a piece for them.

He titled it “The Life of a Traveling Railroad Man” and addressed it to “Daddy’s Little Girls:”

Don’t cry, little girls. Daddy will always love you.

I love your eyes, I love your smiles,

But most of all, I love you because you’re mine.

Because of you I would like to live forever.

I loved to dance with you and fly with you so I could see a smile on your face.

I did not like working on the train because I could not be home at night to hear you say, “Kiss me, Daddy, and tuck me in.”

Daddy had to work at night to buy you nice things.

Leaving home at night made minutes seem like hours and hours seem like days.

Your beautiful eyes and faces made my time on earth a little bit of heaven. You made my life worth living.

I’ll wait for you in heaven, so don’t cry, little girls.

Daddy will always love you.

Daddy’s little girls forever.

Vic worked for the Great Northern in Minot, N.D., in 1948, then was with the Burlington Northern.

He did a short stint with Amtrak toward the end of his career, then went back to working freight trains.

He was both a brakeman and a conductor and saw the switch from steam engines to diesel engines.

He and his family moved to Fargo in 1980 and he left railroading in 1989.

He’s divorced, but his current wife is Sylvia.

Vic says railroading meant long hours during the years he was in it. Crewmen worked 16-hour shifts, with eight hours off in between. But he was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He’d often get called to work in the middle of the night, and he missed many holidays and school events of his four girls: Debra, Vicky, Sherry and Nancy.

Yes, he says he made a “very good living,” but it took a toll on the family.

All of which led to his writing this piece for his daughters.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com