Remembering ‘Cap’ Swift

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 7, 2007

To the Editor:

Some years ago when George Swift was seven years old, he went to his father’s drug store on Broad Street one Sunday morning as was the norm. Being barefoot, he immediately noticed that a puddle of water had collected on the shiny, tiled floor.

At that time Swift’s had fresh flowers displayed near the elevator door. An arrangement was made so that a block of ice would aid in keeping the flowers fresh.

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Beneath the stand stood a bowl to collect the drippings from the ice. On that particular morning someone had neglected to empty the bowl and it had spilled over onto the floor.

Young George, displaying leadership qualities that later blossomed as a Marine, asked the elevator man to empty the bowl.

He complied and was in the process of gingerly taking the bowl away when he was interrupted by a stern voice from Dr. W.W. Harper.

Dr. Harper’s office was on the second floor and when he wanted to use the elevator he wanted it NOW. (In those days a man was hired to run the elevators.) “Who told you to do that?” the stern voice inquired. Nodding toward little George, the colored man said, “Little Cap.”

(Short for Cap’n, no doubt.)

The apparently amused doctor took in the significance of the incident and went forth to tell only those who would listen.

That was a long time ago and the name stuck. I had to refer to the telephone book to be reminded just what Cap’s real name is!

Cap was as much a colorful part of Selma’s history as is the little bridge that spans

quietly the Alabama river.

Selma has lost a major structural supporter of the little city that once shone brightly for the world to see.

Frank Hardy