My grandfather and later my uncle operated DeMarco’s Drug Store in downtown Natchez, Miss., back in the days when a drugstore consisted of a pharmacy where prescriptions were filled and some shelves with over-the-counter remedies — period.

They would no doubt find Bertha Hinojosa’s story a little sad:

She recently asked her pre-K and kindergarten kids at Glen Oaks Park to name something they could find at a pharmacy.

One lad quickly raised his hand and shouted, “Wine!”

Bertha asked for another answer, and another boy yelled, “Beer!”

After Bertha told the class she was looking for another answer, a girl in the back of the class meekly said, “Medicine?”

Chilling out with crawfish

Ronnie Amedee, of Central, says daughter Laurie owns and operates the Fleur-De-Lis restaurant in Gentry, Ark.:

“Boiled crawfish was on the menu Friday night. My son, Randall, who also lives in Gentry, boils the crawfish for her.

“He called Friday afternoon and told me, ‘I never dreamed I would boil crawfish in the snow.’ ”

(Look on the bright side — it keeps the beer cold. …)

Best gumbo in Tokyo

Greg Oivanki, of Denham Springs, says our items about tastes of home and octopus gumbo “have special meaning to me.

“In 2005, after Katrina, I was sent to Japan to work through our parent company, MES (Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding).

“A co-worker introduced me to a small bar and restaurant. The proprietor had lived a couple of years in New Orleans, learned to cook seafood gumbo and brought his recipe back.

“It was quite delicious. Besides shrimp, blue crab and fish, he added either squid or octopus tentacle rings (about the size of a quarter).

“Before my first leave for home, I went in the bar and asked for a bowl of gumbo, and was turned down. It turns out he was using a special seasoning that he had run out of a week earlier.

“I asked him what it was and he showed me a bottle of ‘Andy Roo’s Gumbo Fixin’s’ (by Andy Roo’s Cajun Enterprises in Walker). He had brought it with him from New Orleans.

“I found the purveyor of this seasoning and packed a case in my suitcases on my return trip to Tokyo.

“Thus Andy Roo’s became an international product.”

Finding your way

Morris Kansas has noticed that “in giving directions to visitors from out of town, New Orleanians use uptown, downtown, lake or river, then explain that the compass is not used.

“Visitors in the Cajun area don’t need the compass, either. It’s either up the bayou, down the bayou or across the bayou.”

The mower the merrier

Neighbors on Landwood Circle thank “the persons who mowed our front yards. We appreciate this surprise!”

Looking for seniors

Whealdon Estates retirement community holds three free events for seniors:

A seminar on fraud prevention at 11 a.m. Friday is followed by lunch. There will be an “Irish feast” at 11:15 a.m. Saturday. There will be bingo and refreshments at 2 p.m. Sunday. Call (225) 927-7557.

Fair time

A “Spring Craft Fair” will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday by Riverdale Christian Academy, South Harrell’s Ferry Road.

The first 50 shoppers get a $5 gift card to the Outback Steakhouse on Jones Creek Road.

There will be jambalaya and pastalaya dinners, and 50 local vendors. Visit

Special People Dept.

  • Lillie Engolio Distefano, a native of Bayou Goula, celebrated her 100th birthday Monday.
  • Mary Parr, of Covington, celebrates her 99th birthday Tuesday. She is a native of St. Johns, Newfoundland.
  • Laura Manno Campagna celebrates her 93rd birthday Tuesday.
  • Maude Landry Amorello celebrated her 91st birthday Saturday.
  • Sara P. Nassif, of Palmetto, celebrated her 91st birthday Thursday. She retired last year as secretary of the Palmetto School.
  • Sarah Louise Corkern celebrated her 90th birthday Feb. 26 with a family get-together and 90 lighted candles on the lawn. (Her 4-year-old great-grandson threatened to call the fire department. …)
  • Frank and Juanita Thomas, of Gonzales, celebrated their 62nd anniversary Saturday with a family dinner at The Little Village.

Rare breed

Marvin Borgmeyer says this sign was seen on the engineering work-room door at Ford, Bacon and Davis:

“Engineers in their natural habitat. Do not tap on the glass.

“Engineers are easily frightened by outsiders!”

A damp shame

Larry Sylvester says, “On my recent trip to transport boudin across state lines, I paid a visit to St. Augustine, Fla., to search for the fountain of youth.

“But all I could find was the walk-in bathtub of old age.”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.