An era has ended. The world has come tumbling down around my ears.
I used to boast that in raising more than $1 million for Children's Hospital, I gave contributions a daily accounting that was accurate to the penny.
I can no longer make that statement. Today's report will have to resort to the word "approximately." I am crushed. For details, read on.
We begin today's report with $10 from "the jelly bean jar," which has now been converted to a Brazil nut jar, in the Army's DARCOM Product Improvement Office (DRCPI), Alexandria." A McLean bridge group sent me $12 it collected in set penalties. The Thursday Ladies Triples Bowling League, which rolls at Fair Lanes in Marlow Heights, sent me $22.
Girl Scout Troop 873 of Frederick, Md., took $25 from its treasury.D.C. Alpha Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa Honor Society also took a $25 divot out of its rainy-day reserves.
For the tenth consecutive year, the Photo Lab guys and gals at the U.S. Information Agency chipped in for the hospital, "not because of no Christmas cards, not because of no Christmas party, just because it's a privilege to be able to help." This year's total: $47.
From the Dimensional Technology Section of the National Bureau of Standards (Commerce) came $62 not spent on an intramural greeting card exchange, also a covering note that commanded, "Stay out of hospitals."
People in the Goddard Space Flight Center's Network Computing Branch didn't exchange $68 worth of cards. No card exchange in Pepco's Power Dispatching Department brought the children $85.
The Comptroller's Office at the Child Improvement Agency, sometimes known as the CIA, slid $100 worth of checks under my door and tiptoed away into the night. Employees of Giant Food Store 95 (Calverton, Md.) voted not to engage in any card exchanges, gift exchanges, or going-out-of-business sales, and instead sent me $100 for the children. "Count on us" is more than a motto.
As usual, employees of the Technical Services Branch at the Internal Revenue Service exchange no in-house cards. Their savings this year: $105. When the Science Policy Research Division of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress refrained from swapping cards, the kids at the hospital got $157. Members of the Smithsonian Science Information Exchange, Inc., didn't send each other $163 worth of cards. Employees of the Reproduction Department of the Vitro Labs Division of Automation Industries didn't send each other even more cards - $223 worth. At Grants Auto Body Shop, out near HEW in Rockville, it was $225 worth of gifts that the fender unbenders didn't exchange.
When employees of the Jensen Manufacturing Co. in Alexandria didn't send each other $114 worth of cards, management matched their kitty to make the Jensen contribution $228. Employees in the Economics, Statistics and Cooperative Service of the Department of Agriculture refrained from sending each other $247.25 worth of cards. From the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc., came $310.50.
It was Infodata Systems Inc. that made an accurate-to-the-penny report impossible and caused my world to collapse. The no-card plan at Infodata brought in $326 in good old American currency - and also a "Deux Dollars" certificate on the Banque Du Canada.
At press time, the Canadian dollar was worth about 91.20 cents American, but the way currencies fluctuate these days, who knows what it will be worth on the day Children's Hospital deposits the bill? The best I can do is list the Infodata gift as "approximately" $327.80.
Interpreters, translators, reporters and other staff personnel of the Division of Language Services of the State Department took my mind off personal calamity with a robust contribution of $370. But it was the group at Computer Sciences Corp. that really caused the strings on my abacus to go "boinnng."
For the 12th straight year, area employees of the System Sciences Division of Computer Sciences Corp. didn't send each other holiday greeting cards. The amount they diverted to Children Hospital this year was a breath-taking $1,510.
The cordless abacus says that 22 groups contributed $4,422.55 today, and 43 individuals added $1,521 to bring today's receipts to a healthy $5,943.55. We began the day with $114,564.23, so the shoebox now contains $120,507.78. The end draws nigh.