Pioneer Potluck: A tribute to our dad, John. M. McClure Sr.

Halibut enchiladas, halibut honey mustard fingers, angel food pineapple dessert

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019 11:35pm
  • Life

Father’s Dad brings back memories of our Dad. Here are some memories I would like to share.

Dad worked hard on the farm and so did Mom. Dad turned his irrigation farm into a ranch and started building a herd of shorthorn cattle, a breed of short stocky cattle originally from Scotland.

Soon the farm he worked so hard on became Shamrock Shorthorn Ranch. I painted the sign that was cut out into a shape of a shamrock. I remember Dad and my brother Sonny — now John Jr. — putting the sign on an iron stake with a swivel so the wind would not tear it up. Dad was so proud when it was finally finished. He stood back with pride, surveying his accomplishments. He eventually bought another farm and two ranches and became a true cattle rancher.

Dad worked closely with the “Aggies,” the Colorado Agriculture College in Fort Collins.

He landscaped the fields for more effective watering of the crops. He had a big dam built in the pasture so that he had a lake to water the fields and the cows. I am not sure of this but I think the lake turned out to be alkali water and was not usable.

Dad won top honors in statewide soil conservation.

Our family resided on that farm-ranch for 25 years, until 1955 when hail and bad weather ruined all the crops and damaged numerous buildings and equipment. This forced Dad into retirement. BUT, then he purchased the John Deere dealership for northern Colorado, southern Wyoming, and western Nebraska. It was very successful and Dad continued to see his farmer, rancher friends and told the amazing stories and funny jokes. He was very relaxed and happy and did not have to work so hard.

I graduated from Timnath High School that year and in November of 1955 I married John Clayton Bateman (Jack). We settled in Golden, Colorado, in a motel unit so Jack could go to school on the G.I. Bill. He was interested in petroleum engineering and geology. Times were hard for us on such a limited income. (I think the G.I. bills was $135 a month). He worked for Adolf Coors in his off hours from college and I worked two jobs, one for the phone company in the daytime and for a creamery at night — the old fashioned kind of ice cream store that served ice cream cones and malts and shakes. It was a very busy place. I overfilled the malts and shakes and put the rest in a separate large cup. By the end of the evening I took home a rainbow shake-malt with different layers. That was our supper many times all that first winter of 1955 and 1956.

In March of 1956, Jack, while working for Coors severally hurt his back and could not continue his college education, so we moved back to Fort Collins and he became a parts man for Dad at the John Deere store.

In 1957, Dad became a grandpa as my daughter, Gail Lynn was born. He was a proud grinning kind of happy grandpa. In 1959 David John was born and in 1960 Susan Renee was born, and they brought even broader grins for grandpa. All three were born at Poudre Valley Hospital where my little sister and brother, Elaine and Jim, were born. They all were delivered by the same Dr. James Hoffman. Also Regina Sue, my brother John’s daughter was born in 1961. Dad took on a new role and because the kindest funniest grandpa who delighted in scaring and hugging and spoiling his grandkids.

Grandpa also started taking all of the grandkids to movies on Wednesday afternoon. I had to go too, couldn’t let grandpa be in charge of four little kids. Who knows what he would have fed them at the movies. We had so much fun with him!

The very most memorable time was when we all dressed up to go to see “Mary Poppins.” Regina, age 4, was dressed in her frilly little red and white dress. She looked so cute. My kids in their best Sunday clothes.

We all watched “Mary Poppins” and munched popcorn. The music was so catchy and happy. It kept the kids attention all through the movie. The last song was, “Oh, let’s go fly a kite, way up to the highest heights — Oh, lets go fly a kite.”

When the movie was over and we all marched out into sunshine holding hands, Regina let go of my hand and started skipping ahead down the sidewalk, singing in her loudest voice “Oh, YOU go fly a kite — OH, YOU go fly a kite up to the highest heights, OH, YOU go fly a kite.” I started to run and catch her but Dad caught my arm and said let her sing. We all had big smiles on our faces as well as everyone around us, listening to our little Mary Poppins skipping down the sidewalk singing at the top of her lungs. “OH, YOU go fly a kite!”

This is just one of many of my fondest memories of our Dad and his gentle kindness.

John McClure — 1914 to 1983.


1 can chopped chilies

1/2 green pepper chopped

1 medium onion chopped

1 pint of sour cream

2 cups cooked flaked halibut, cooled

1 dozen flour tortillas

Mix the first five ingredients and roll the mixture into the tortillas. Place in and oiled 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

Pour over the top:

1 can tomato soup

Mix with:

1 can mild enchilada sauce — red or green

Pour over tortillas in dish and top with grated cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.

NOTE: Add jalapenos if you want.

This is the best recipe to make ahead and refrigerate until about an hour before you want to serve it. I serve refried beans and a green salad with it.


Partially thaw halibut fillets. Trim and cut into 1/2- by 2-inch strips. Set aside to thaw and drain. Prepare the honey mustard dressing. Recipe says to prepare this the day before so the sauce can blend.

In a small bowl:

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup Dijon or mustard of your choice. I prefer the regular yellow mustard.

Stir and set aside with lid on — refrigerate.

In a medium bowl:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Fluff with fork.

In a pie plate, pour:

3/4 cup canned milk

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in large skillet.* Heat to medium. Dip halibut fingers in milk and roll in the flour salt mixture. Place on waxed paper and finish dipping and rolling.

Place fish in hot oil a few at a time — do not over crowd. Fry turning once to brown both sides until nicely browned, about two minutes on each side. Place on towel lined paper plate to drain. Finish frying. Place fish on platter lined with lettuce leaves. Drizzle honey mustard over top of halibut fingers. Serve with napkins and a smiled. OR serve honey mustard as a dip. Another dip would be two tablespoons soy sauce mixed with 1/2 cup ketchup.*NOTE you can use a deep fat fryer — goes faster.


So simple, so fast, so good.

In a bowl:

1 package angel food cake mix

1 big can crushed pineapple

1 cup water

Mix and pour into a 9- by 13-inch dish and bake as the directions on the package.

This is so simple and so good.

• By Ann “GRANNIE ANNIE” Berg, For the Peninsula Clarion

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