Don't look now, but I think the Christmas rush is over.
Watch as we tally today's receipts for Children's Hospital and tell me whether it's just my imagination or whether the pipeline is beginning to gurgle a warning that the end is near.
We begin with $13 overlooked by the Hillcrest Christmas Carolers when they originally turned in their loot directly to Children's Hospital. We count only the amount turned in through this this column, of course.
"The small staff of the Maryland Technical Advisory Service (at the University of Maryland) again squashed the annual impulse to exchange Christmas cards," thereby diverting $14 toward the hospital with the built-in deficit.
The Nonfederal Claim Service Department at Blue Cross/Blue Shield chipped in $20. Another $20 arrived because a woman who left her position with the Resident Associates of the Smithsonian Institution thought the nicest going-away gift her colleagues could give her would be hospital care for a needy child.
A few of the agents at Homes By Douglas in Camp Spring decided not to exchange $24 worth of Christmas cards among themselves. The people at Fuel Activator in College Park sent me $25. A second $25 arrived from the Maryland Metropolitan Alumnae Association of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, and today's third $25 check was from the Mount Vernon Twisters, a Tuesday morning ladies bowling league.
Employees of the Giant Department Store on Rockville Pike, no doubt preoccupied with their going-out-of-business sale, sent me $27 in cash. I have asked donors not to send cash through the mail, but I forgive them. I almost had to hold a going-out-of-business sale of my own last summer, and I know what an upsetting experience it can be.
Three Silver Spring carolers earned $30 for the hospital on Christmas Eve. Another $30 came in from "a collection box in the Army Office of Project Management, HQ DARCOM." Rock Creek Palisades Elementary School in Kensington chipped in $50. At Creative Enterprises in Columbia, unanimous agreement to scrap a holiday card exchange and help the Children instead raised $58. The Food and Management Consultants at Cini-Grissom Associates chipped in $74.
When the Sunday School at the Liberty Baptist Church raised $61 for the hospital, "a good friend" added $39 to round the gift out to an even $100, which arrived with the enjoinder that I could have the money only if I promised not to identify the rounder-outer.
Depend on it, madam. When there's $100 for the children involved, I wouldn't even tell Jason Robards, let alone my editor.
No holiday card exchange among the staff of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute was good for three aces -- $111. Personnel at the Aires Project, which is developing a computer system for the Defense Intelligence agency, didn't send each other $198 worth of holiday cards.
In only their second year in the no-cards plan, employees of the Capitol City Glass Co. didn't send $218 worth, and they say they'll do even better next year. the men and women at the American Gas Association deregulated $362.50 worth of unsent Christmas cards and thereby added some welcome fuel to our fund drive.
At Metro (if you want to be formal, the name is The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) eight units in the Department of Design and Construction rounded up a lovely $500 contribution to the hospital. A tip of the hat to the generous eight: Architecture, Design and Construction, Construction, Contract Administration, engineering, Equipment Design, Program Control and Real Estate. And an even deeper bow goes to the Bannister Women's Club of Waldorlf. The women worked like beavers throughout December to raise $510.86 and then persuaded several neighborhood boys to add $10 of the money they earned cutting and selling wood. The Bannister Women's Club's $520.86 gift was tops for the day.
The cordless abacus says that these 21 groups contributed $2,445.36 and that 30 individuals added $922 to bring today's total to $3,367.36. That's much less than our recent daily average, and brings to mind a note just in from Betty N. Smith of Arlington. Betty suggests that if you find TV fare dull and unexciting these days, "just move your easy chair in front of the gas gas meter and watch it for a while. That's where the action is." For us, the action began today with $125,050.72 in the shoebox, so now we've nudged the total up to $128,418.08.