Dear Smiley: Your headline “How music unites” in the Wednesday column reminded me of how music united my brother — to himself.

Roland had been slipping away from us through Alzheimer’s.

An accomplished singer, he noticed auditions for Verdi’s Requiem and asked his wife, Pat, to drive him to the audition.

Figuring that this would be a disaster, Pat reluctantly took him.

They parked Roland in front of the sheet music, struck up the piano and Roland sang beautifully — in Latin!

He did all the rehearsals and performances perfectly. Someone had to lead him on and off stage every night, but while he was singing he was impeccable.

Someone needs to do a study on this phenomenon.

Sarah Stravinska



Dear Smiley: I spotted an item in your column that I know to be incorrect.

It was from one of your readers about Henry Dupre and WWL Radio in the ’30s.

The song “Arizé” (incorrect French) was written and sung by my father, Pinky Vidacovich, who was the musical director and wrote and performed most of the comedy on the “Dawnbusters” morning show.

Henry was a dear friend and a super MC who really helped keep that crazy bunch in line every morning. He was in most of the comedy routines as the straight man to my dad’s characters: Placide Vidac, the Cajun; Dr. Delirium Tremens Ghoul, the psychiatrist; Dr. Treehorse Parlay, etc., etc., etc.

Irvine J. “Pinky” Vidacovich Jr.



Dear Smiley: I woke up this one morning, put on my bifocals, and walked over to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. I picked up the paper to read your column, and was shocked to find my eyes would not focus! Everything was a blur.

Being an alarmist, I immediately jumped to the conclusions that I had either had a stroke, or slept face down and distorted the shape of my eyeball.

In either case, I felt it would be impossible for me to drive to my beauty parlor appointment later that day. Imagine my distress.

My husband, Isby, being the helpful soul that he is, asked me to hand him my glasses so he could examine them.

Well, we both got a big laugh when he discovered one of the lenses had fallen out!

He found it next to the bed, and I have no idea how it got there.

I think that “Elf on a Shelf” has been roaming around New Iberia this week getting into all of his mischief.

Julaine Deare Schexnayder

New Iberia


Dear Smiley: The Dec. 5 story in your column by “Bayou Jeaux” regarding the mother and newborn child on a bus stop bench outside a hospital broke my heart.

It stayed with me all day, as much as I tried to stop thinking about it.

I can’t help wondering what that young mother’s story was.

Had I passed that sad, heartbreaking scene that day, I would have stopped and offered her a ride.

She may have refused, so cab fare would have been given and a cab called.

What would it have taken or cost for someone to offer help?

I hope someone eventually did.

Kathy Higgins



Dear Smiley: A few weeks back I was helping open the new Hi Nabor store in the Broadmoor Shopping Center. I was working the meat case when around the corner, pushing a grocery basket, I saw an unforgettable face to someone in my age group (50ish).

It was Buckskin Bill Black.

I felt like a little kid seeing a superstar. I told him how I couldn’t wait in the mornings to get up and watch his show with the Little Rascals.

He smiled and said, “Thank you.”

I went back in the market to tell the other people working who I just saw.

Sammy, a market manager, said, “Man, I loved that show.”

The 20-something lady working there said, “Who is that?”

We both immediately broke out into the Monday Morning March, playing our imaginary flutes, like we were following Buckskin Bill (who was actually watching us through the glass, and gave us a thumbs up.

I felt bad for the young lady, because she never experienced that joy of watching Buckskin Bill while sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal.

I wish Channel 9 could show reruns of that show for the kids of today — I think it’s timeless.

I did leave her with Buckskin Bill’s parting words, which I still tell people today:

“Remember, you’re never completely dressed until you put on a smile.”

Gerald Wray



Dear Smiley: The story about Bum Phillips not wearing his hat in the Dome — because his mom taught him not to wear it inside a building — makes me wonder if she tried to teach her tobacco-chewing son not to spit on the carpet.

Mike Shook



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.