TIFTON -- Thirty-one years after winning a "My Dad Is the Greatest" contest, Beverly Crosby Clyburn of Tifton still feels the same way.

In 1974, Clyburn, then nine years old, wrote this letter for the contest, which was sponsored by the Tifton Elks Auxiliary:

"My dad is the greatest because we do things together just us two. He understands my feelings and when I'm hurt he is too and when I'm happy he is happy."

As the winner, Clyburn received $5. Her dad, now-retired Tift Superior Court Judge John D. "Dickie" Crosby, won two steak dinners at the Elks Lodge.

Gazette Women's News editor Ellen Brightwell wrote a story that described how the father and daughter enjoyed swimming together, playing pool in the game room at their house, and fishing in a pond owned by Clyburn's grandmother, Mrs. John Crosby.

Clyburn and her husband, Henry, now live on her grandmother's farm near the pond where she and her dad liked to fish.

While driving home a few months ago, Clyburn was trying to think of a Father's Day gift and remembered the contest. She decided to write another letter to her dad.

"I asked my mom about it, and she still had everything in her scrapbook, the letter and the Gazette clipping," she said.

"I was nervous about asking him about it, but when I did he said, 'Yeah, that's great' and then when he saw the letter he said, 'That's sweet.'

The new letter read:

"Thirty-one years later my dad is still the greatest. My family is very blessed to live so near each other. Because of this, my dad and I still get to spend so much time together, and he is still my favorite fishing buddy.

"This year we have embarked on yet another joint venture. We have created a productive vegetable garden. My dad still hurts when I hurt and celebrates when I celebrate.

"Dad, you are still the greatest! Happy Father's Day!"

To contact city editor Florence Rankin, call 382-4321, ext. 209.

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