Ivy Anderson steadily, but nervously played a familiar song on the piano for Miss Polly Alexander on Saturday, October 23, 2010. Each stroke of a key reincarnated the old melody in her mind, while Miss Polly listened and corrected any mistakes. The 2nd Annual Day of Champions brought Ivy Anderson, Anna Rose, Bryan Anderson and Daniel Lee to Mrs. Alexander’s house on Cherry Street. The activities of Saturday morning will never fade from Miss Anderson’s memory. Polly projected a personality as distinct as her bright, green house.
When Ivy arrived at Polly’s house, an extremely grateful woman met her at the door. “I’ve read about you in the paper. I’m so excited to meet you,” Miss Polly said as a smile crossed her face. While they waited for the rest of the crew to arrive, Alexander showed off her many Ranger College awards. “I used to go to every home game,” she beamed. When Anna, Bryan and Daniel arrived, Polly proceeded to show them her piano decorated home and explained to the boys their project for the day. Bryan and Daniel worked diligently and removed sticks from the alley behind the house before the rain came.
The first assignment of the day for Anna and Ivy involved shining old candle holders. While this seemed like a small task, Miss Polly appreciated the help and showered the girls with expressions of gratitude. After meticulously cleaning the candle looms, the two girls began to clean the front room which featured an upright piano and a blue baby grand piano. Anderson and Rose organized sheet music and other piano instruction books. When Ivy stumbled upon a book she used as a child to learn the piano, Miss Polly insisted she play for her. Anxiously plucking along, the college student played the song repeatedly. Miss Alexander shared that in the days when she taught piano lessons she only charged two dollars a lesson! She also told a story about how she always kept exactly enough money in the piano bench to buy Girl Scout cookies from each girl that stopped by her house.
While they cleaned, the girls stumbled upon lyrics to a song that Polly wrote down to read over when she came across them. As Anna listened to the lyrics, she realized she knew the song and sang the beautiful arrangement with Miss Polly. These two musical experiences cannot easily be forgotten.
After a water break, the girls went to ask for more assignments, but Polly thought of something else to show. She picked up a newspaper from the bed and searched each page for a specific article. “Please Jesus let me find my centerfold so I can brag,” she said, resulting in laughter from the girls. The article featured the cheerful woman crowned queen at Roaring Ranger Days this year. In that moment, Polly appeared a younger version of herself, vibrant and not ailed by physical problems.
The rest of the morning consisted of cleaning other knick-knacks around the house and flushing a cockroach down the “commode.” Polly diligently watched the weather forecast to insure the boys’ safety while they worked outside. Over and over Miss Polly expressed the gratitude she felt toward the students who came to help her.
Bryan Anderson reflected on the Day of Champions and said “Miss Polly is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met.” Surely the other students who worked with the exuberant woman would say the same. In the face of all the trials and tribulations Polly went through, she stayed strong in faith and remained friendly with all who came in contact with her. “Miss Polly is just one of those people you meet and don’t regret,” Anderson said.