Our series on wildlife dining brought this recollection from Toxie Craft, of Lakeland:

"In 1968, I went to work with a hunting outfitter in the upper region of the Amazon basin, on the Caqueta River in southern Colombia. The base of operations was in the small riverside village of LaTagua.

"I had only been there a couple of days when we took a trip downriver. There were two guys from the U.S., four local guys, all well experienced, and the rookie, me.

"The trip was exciting and amazing — jungle foliage, colorful birds, monkeys jumping through trees, caiman sunning on the river bank.

"We traveled in a huge dugout canoe (like a giant pirogue) powered by a big outboard motor. Late that afternoon, we stopped and made camp on a sandbar.

"The local guys caught some fish and started preparing supper. Each served himself a bowl from a big pot over the campfire.

"I could hardly get past the smell but tried a couple of bites anyway. Ugh! That was it. No way could I eat that.

"I asked one of the guys, Slim, 'What is this stuff?' He laughed and said, 'Piranha stew.'

"A can of chili and beans saved me from starvation."

Speaking of wildlife

D.C. Jensen, of Baton Rouge, evidently has a VERY good memory for food.

Our discussion of cooking critters reminds him that in 1980, Jim Brown, then Louisiana's secretary of state, published a squirrel stew recipe that got quite a bit of attention.

Winging it

Bobbie Spencer, of Lafayette, has a food story about a domestic critter:

"When I moved to Washington, D.C., in the l960s, I became curious as to why people got on the bus smelling like fried chicken.

"I eventually followed the folks to an eatery, 'Wings 'n Things,' that had scrumptious wings.

"Even today, when I order fried chicken here in Acadiana, I think of the sign by the door at that place that boldly declared, 'A chicken ain't nothing but a bird, but the wing's the thing!'

"From what I hear, the eatery is still going strong."

Jack's saves the day 

David McLemore continues our nostalgia stories about old cowboy movies:

"Growing up in a small northeast Louisiana town in the '40s and '50s, the local theater had western movies on Saturday.

"It cost 9 cents to go to the movie. One Saturday when I was about 10 years old, there wasn't 9 cents in our house.

"After an exhaustive search for the money, I walked to town very dejected.

"On the sign for the movie for that day was a special. You could go to the movie free for two Jack's cookies bags.

"I ran to the grocery store, where we could charge food, and bought two small bags of Jack's vanilla wafers. I went home and dumped them into a bowl and was able to go to the movie."

Good excuse

Raymond "LaLa" Lalonde says, "Your mention of bathrooms brought this to my mind.

"I started school at Pacaniere Elementary in 1945. We were seven students in the first grade. None of us could speak English.

"The first thing we learned was how to ask the teacher when we had to use the bathroom. It was, 'May I be excused?'

"To us, 'be-excused' was one word. We would be playing marble at recess and someone would say, 'Don’t touch my marble; gotta go be-excused.'”

Sign of spring

Jeannie Bueche says, "My first hummingbird of the spring has arrived — and, boy, was he hungry.

"I write down the date every year when they get here. This year it was March 9, and last year it was March 8."

Special People Dept.

Helen "Tootie" Guidry, of Plaquemine, celebrates her 95th birthday Tuesday, March 12.

Educational experience

Norvin Schexnailde, of Metairie, says, "To add to your recent columns on things kids say:

"My great-grandson Liam was visiting from his home in Florida for his fifth birthday.

"I asked him what grade he was in, and he replied pre-K. I then asked how he liked school, and without batting an eye, he answered, 'Too much learning.'"

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.