Sure enough, a few people put off mailing their checks for Children's Hospital until the last day -- more than 200 of them did, in fact.

Of these, 193 were individuals whose contributions averaged $25.70 for a total of $4,960.14. That's not a pipeline gurgle, it's a flood.

Thirty-eight group gifts also arrived, the first of them $9.10 raised by Girl Scout Troop 1078 as it sang Christmas carols in Vienna. A $10 check represented coins tossed into the fountain in front of Free Spirit Fashions, in the Van Ness Center. "Our Brown Bag Bridge Club of Arlington/Alexandria" was also good for $10, and a third $10 "gurgle in your dripping pipeline" arrived from the small staff of the Maryland Technical Advisory Service at the University of Maryland.

The Open Door Bible Class of Hyattsville's First Baptist Church sent me$15 and the Dorcas Sunday School Class of the Woodbridge Baptist Church also sent $15. Another $15 check arrived from Brookeville from Junior Girl Scout Troop 153, whose spokesperson said, "We would like to see the shoebox full."

Eight Marine Corps wives who play bridge together fined themselves $20 for the contracts they failed to make. A mysterious unit named "The Persign Team" at the (shhh!) Child Improvement Agency chipped in $20.05. Food and Drug's Travel Audit Section sent me $23.95.

Five contributions were for $25 each. One was sent by the Capital Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs to mark the fact that 1979 has been proclaimed the International Year of the Child. Another was from the beautiful cheerleaders at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown. The third was from "the B&S Club," not otherwise identified. One check was labeled, "Office Goofs," without further explanation. And the fifth was from the staff of the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center.

The ante was raised to $26 by the Knights of Columbus Santa Maria Council No. 4654 and its women's auxiliary, The Knightengals. Again this year, the Baskin-Robbins ice cream store on Lee Highway in Fairfax put 5 cents into the kitty each time it decorated a cake with a character from the Peanuts comic strip, and $30 accumulated for the hospital as a result.

When a member of the staff of the Human Services Branch of the Fairfax County Executive's Office was expecting a baby, a pool was formed on the time the newcomer would arrive. Winner of the $40 pool sent me all the loot in the name of the 1-day-old infant, who now becomes our youngest contributor.

"Four gals at the Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital" sent me $43. A fishbowl at Taag Inc. (College Park) gathered up $45.82 from its Publications and Administrative staff.

The Freiherr Von Stumme Societet (or Sozietet -- I can't tell whether the c overstruck the z or vice versa) sent me $50 "zum gesundheit und freundschaft zwischen Manner." The society's chief activities appear to be "biertrinken und pretzeldunken."

George's Employees Association also sent in $50, and the British Embassy added $50 to its previous gift (raising its total this year to $450). The Manassas Driver's Fund Association also sent me $50, and if that name is new to you, I can shed a bit of light on it. The fund was started by professional truck drivers to help needy children, accident victims, burn victims, homeless people and others who need help.

When the Army Research Institute had $58.90 left over from its Christmas party, how do you think the group solved its problem? Hey, that's right! You're a good guesser. The Association of D.C. University Physical Plant Managers chipped in $60 for the children. The Tunnel Crew that maintains the heating system for the federal government had $65 left over from its Christmas party, and knowing what a good guesser you are, I won't even ask.

Last year, the staff at Myers & Hill Inc. sent me $25 and a note that said, "We'll do better next year." This year they sent $72 and a note that said, "We told you we'd do better." The staff in the Dean Witter Reynolds office on Fort Myer Drive get up a pool of $50 of their own money and talked the firm out of $25 to make their total $75.

There were nine more, but we're out of space. The abacus says these 29 groups put $988.82 into the shoebox. Together with the 193 individual contributions mentioned at the beginning of today's report, that makes today's total $5,948.96, and our running total $214,580.79. Tomorrow I'll tell you about the last nine gifts and give you a final final final total.