Last Wednesday's column about Dr. Robert H. Parrott, director of Children's Hospital, elicited this humorous response and a first-time donation from an unusual reader.
"I am a yellow naped Amazon Parrot. Although I have followed Mr.Gold's column for years, I have never contributed to his annual fund-raiser, as my own favorite charity is Parrots Without Partners.
"This year, however, will be an exception.
"I had no idea, 'though it must have been printed before, that the director was a Parrot. (If it's not too presumptuous, I'd like to point out that you misspelled the word several times.)
"Please accept the enclosed check, and give my best to Dr. Parrot."
Sometimes, it seems, a parrot can be a child's best friend.
Several letters with checks came from District Liners who have pleasant recollections of the treatment they or their loved ones received at Children's Hospital. The letters chronicled nearly a half century of medical success at the hospital.
"My warmest memories of Children's Hospital," said one note, "are of the excellent care afforded my daughters as infants in the 'Well Baby Clinic' in 1930 and 1931. They are now 49 and 47 years of age and still well."
Another letter brought "one donation that's long overdue."
"I was born in 1956 in Columbia Women's Hospital. It had been a difficult pregnancy for my mother, and I came out of it with a club foot.
"Three weeks later, I was taken from our Virginia home to Children's Hospital. I'm told I had turned 'yellow as a canary.' I was not expected to live, and so was christened in the hospital.
"Needless to say, I did survive. I owe a great deal to Children's Hospital. Unfortunately, $23 is all I can afford to give this season -- a dollar for each year of life that they gave me."
No apologies are necessary for any contribution. All the letters I receive are given the same attention and consideration. I open all the fund drive mail myself and organize the donations for the convenience of the bookkeepers at Children's Hospital.
Two other letters gave evidence of more recent events at Children's Hospital.
"This is a small contribution in gratitude that Children's Hospital was there when my grandson needed it last May. He spent two weeks in the burn unit and is still an outpatient. We give thanks that he bears no scars.
"Fortunately, his parents were covered by insurance, but it is comforting to know that he would not have been turned away and he got the best care available."
That's what Children's Hospital is all about. The finest in medical services and technology complemented by some of the best pediatric specialists in the nation provide Our Town with an extremely high level of child care. It is all available to each and every patient that passes through the doors, regardless of financial status.
The last missive expressed admiration for the physicians and staff at Children's: "Thanks to the work of the excellent doctors and dedicated nurses at Children's Hospital, our little granddaughter is able to enjoy Christmas with our family this year," explained the letter. Included was a generous token of the grandparents' appreciation.
Just as Bill predicted, the number of responses to the work of Children's Hospital is starting to pick up. The volume of donations coming through the pipeline has increased from barely a gurgle to just over a trickle. I'm still waiting for the flood, but now I'm more confident that it will come.
Leading off in the organizational contribution category today is the Old Mill Company of Savage, Md. Enclosed with a check of $15 was this message from a friend: "I guess you'll believe me now. The little companies care!"
Never has anyone heard me say anything different. I'd just like to hear from more of the thousands of small businesses in Washington and the surrounding areas.
Two checks for $25 arrived, one from the Rochkind Family Foundation, and the other from the Town Center Senior Citizens Club of Rockville.
The Tangible Advertising Company sent the children $50, and included joke retirement cards for Bill and me.
The total for donations from organizations comes to $115. An additional $1,510.67 was contributed by 67 District Liners, never identified here by name. The two totals combine to equal $1,625.67. Added to our running score of $4,717.44, it brings the total in the shoebox to $6,343.11.
A reader suggested I conclude these columns with my address to make it more difficult for District Liners to "wait until I get the address." Again, make your tax deductible checks to the order of Children's Hospital and send them to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.