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A Short Riff from Rusty Aldridge: The Godfather of Soul, the Kid with the Dreads, and Me…

A Short Riff by Rusty Aldridge

So many things are going on in our world today and so much of those “things” make people sad, mad and frustrated. When I sat down to write this, I wanted to offer something that would be positive, make folks smile, and take everyone’s mind off of all the negativity we’re being pounded with.

Here goes…this is a true story…

One evening about two weeks ago, I was heading home. The time was just before dark. I’m just driving along, minding my own business, letting the day wind down, and I have to stop at a red light. As I recall, I had my radio turned down and the windows were up because I had the A/C on.

While I’m waiting for the light to change, I hear something. It’s music coming from the car next to me, kind of loud. I look over to see a young black gentleman, maybe about 20 years old. He has a headful of dreadlocks. He is bobbing his head to the rhythm, and unconsciously, so was I. He looked at me for about two seconds and a grin slowly slipped across his face.

The young man turned his music up. His grin turned into a full-fledged smile when I started fist pumping and singing along. I guess he could read my lips.  My years in broadcasting have served me well. I’ve been exposed to all types of music.

The song my new friend and I were jamming to? ‘Get on Up!’ (Sex Machine) by James Brown.

We pulled away from the red light and he paced me for about a mile and we were rocking. He took a right to get where he was going and as he  turned, his hand came into sight and he threw me the Hawaiian ‘shaka’.

Man, did I feel really cool. In that brief moment, he and I crossed the color barrier, closed the

generation gap, and we had a very warm and fuzzy (and funky) experience. I really wish this could happen to more people…it might get our country on the good foot…makes me wanna jump back and kiss myself!

Rusty Aldridge is a longtime Radio Broadcaster in our area and lives in Wetumpka.