All kinds of people give to Children's Hospital, for all kinds of reasons. Here are just a few:
A young man from Alexandria writes:
"I just wanted to let you know that since I just had my bar mitzvah, I am donating some of the money I received to the Children's Hospital.
"I read your column about every day, and truthfully I was going to donate this money to another cause, but you convinced me to give to the Children's Hospital."
Many thanks for your truthfulness, my friend. Thanks just as much for your $25 donation.
Also from Alexandria comes a $200 gift from a woman who remembers with affection that all four of her children had their tonsils removed at Children's.
"No better cause in the world," she writes, "and no better hospital." Amen twice from this corner.
Lost loved ones inspired many donors. From Northwest Washington came a $25 check from a mother, in memory of her daughter. From Cheverly came $100 from a woman whose husband and son both died within the last two years, and who remembers taking her son to Children's when he was a baby. And from Annandale came $25 from a woman who writes:
"Recently my grandmother died. She was 95. I had hoped she would die of a natural old age. Instead, it was cancer.
"Instead of buying flowers for the funeral, I wanted this check to be used for something that would be more lasting, of more benefit."
A Silver Spring man who retired in 1973 after 37 years of service with the Securities and Exchange Commission mailed in $15, with the hope that fellow SEC'ers will donate to the campaign, too.
None has yet, to my knowledge. Which is a hint.
A woman in Nokesville, Va., sent along $25, and a tale of an illness that Children's helped cure:
"In 1944, when he was only 3 years old, my husband contracted the dreaded childhood disease -- polio," the woman wrote.
"His father, a poor tenant farmer, had no money and no health-care insurance to pay for medical attention for his son.
"At that time, Northern Virginia was a very rural area with few doctors and fewer hospitals. His parents took Jim to a local country doctor, who diagnosed Jim's symptoms as polio and immediately sent him to Children's Hospital, where he was a patient for five months.
"After his initial hospitalization, Jim spent the next 15 years in and out of the hospital for operations and treatments that have eliminated virtually all evidence of damage done by polio.
"(Without Children's), the son of a tenant farmer could never have received the top-quality care that has enabled him to live a perfectly normal life."
A Falls Church mother of two (and soon to be three) mailed in a $50 check, and a note that read: "This is one check I enjoy writing."
Speaking of checks, the most unusual of the campaign arrived last Wednesday.
It was for $8, and it came in an envelope with a second check, which was for $142. The $8 check was drawn on a Washington Post account and was made out to a man who lives in Woodley Park. The same man had made out and signed the $142 check.
Curious, I called him. It turned out that the $8 check was a refund, paid to the Woodley Park man by The Post when he complained that he was receiving spotty service on his subscription.
"I had signed up for that 8-week promotion you've been running," the man explained. "Some days the paper came, and some days it didn't, so I got disgusted and canceled. But I had actually received about three weeks' worth of papers, so I didn't feel I was entitled to all $8. That's why I decided to give it to the hospital."
As for cleverness, my Cathedral Avenue Carper continues to stand as the unchallenged champ.
I first wrote about her last week, when I related how she had criticized my writing. I had written back, admitting that her "carping" was correct. Then she wrote back, with apologies -- and a check for Children's.
Well, now she has written yet again.
"Look, I do indeed carp, about everything, it seems," the latest letter says. "Have done so all my life. (But) I've decided to kick the habit and kick in a dollar for Children's Hospital for each serious transgression.
"Periodically, including today, I shall turn out the contents of my specially-designed, reopenable fish (a carp, of course) bank and send them to you . . . I do hope my checks grow less big, as my love for mankind increases."
Let me assure you, Carper, that Children's and I will take checks any way we can get 'em. Thank you for the 38 carps represented by your most recent check. I wouldn't usually hope that anyone's carping view of mankind stay the same. But in your case, I think you'll understand when I say: Carp On.