There is little to report on our fund drive for Children's Hospital because it is an unwritten rule in these parts that everybody must wait until the last minute to send in his check. On several occasions I have tried to generate some interest in a Let's-Not-Give-Bill-Heart-Palpitations movement, but it has never done much good. Most checks are still mailed the day before Christmas.

Only two groups are represented in today's receipts. The 11 employees in the Office of Marine Insurance of the Maritime Administration voted not to exchange intramural holiday cards, and as a result raised $40 for the children. And the E Club (lettermen) of Eipscopal High School in Alexandria sent in $100 again this year. Total from groups: $140.

Eleven individuals sent in checks totaling $642. One check for $25 was from a woman who wrote: "For years, I have had good intentions about sending you something for the children, but never got around to actually doing it. Today I am sending this check because my grandson was operated on yesterday - and everything went beautifully, thanks to the wonderful people at Children's Hospital."

Yes. I know that you mean, grandma. The abstract idea has a degree of appeal, but until it gets down to the level of "Hey, that's my kid they're cutting into," we're not really roused into action. We want a superb pediatric facility to be available here in case we ever need it, but we're not too inclined to support it until the need actually arises.

I am reminded of the problem that service organizations face when potential members decline to join because they have no need for the group's services at that particular moment. The Better Business Bureau summed it up quite well a few days ago when it asked local business firms. "Who Is Going To Pull The Wagon When Everyone Wants To Ride?"

But I digress from my bookkeeping duties. The $140 from groups and $642 from individuals gives us $782 for the day. Inasmuch as we already had $12,202.06 in the shoebox in which I collect your gifts to Children's Hospital, our running (walking? limping?) total to date becomes $12,984.06.

Tomorrow may be better, but I doubt it because tomorrow won't be the day before Christmas.

Don't mind me; I always bite my fingernails like this.