All right, Ms. Charlottesville," said I, as I tossed the letter over to my sidekick, Michelle Hall. "Is this even close to being on the level?"
For the next several seconds, Michelle alternately read and giggled. "Yup," she finally said. "That's them. Just the way I remember them."
Michelle is an alumna of The University of Virginia, normally a placid, thoughtful institution of higher learning. However, there's a black sheep in every flock, and at U-Va., amid all the placidity and thoughtfulness, there is The U-Va. Pep Band.
According to Michelle, the band is a bunch of zany scamps who put on the halftime shows at U-Va. football games. The productions are wild, unpredictable and (according to Michelle) often very funny.
The band's director (and the author of the letter we were studying) is a third-year aerospace engineering student named Todd Koerner. He modestly calls himself Todd The Bod. TTB enclosed $10 for our Children's Hospital campaign, with one proviso: that I publicly wish both the U-Va. Pep Band and the U-Va. football team good luck on Dec. 31.
If I did so, said Todd, I'd be given a token membership in the band for that day. "This is something you can even tell your grandchildren about, Bob," wrote Todd, "and they will ask if you are senile."
Senility won't be the problem on Dec. 31. Sobriety might. Both the U-Va. Pep Band and the U-Va. football team will be in Atlanta that night, for the university's first appearance in a bowl game -- the 1984 Peach Bowl, Virginia vs. Purdue. It'll be a history-maker for the Wahoo footballers, win or lose. And what sort of hoo-hah hysterics will the Pep Band offer to a national TV audience?
"The jokes will poke fun at Purdue and various national figures, including Reagan," divulged Todd The Bod. There'll be a spoof of "Gone With The Wind," in honor of Atlanta, which is that epic story's setting. The finale will feature "a champagne bottle, and a popping cork," to welcome the new year.
Sounds like fun. To Todd The Bod, and all Cavaliers everywhere, I say: Go get 'em, Virginia. And keep 'em rolling in the aisles, Pep Band.
More groups to have graced our Children's collection plate lately:
The E G & G Information Center Staff at Crystal City ($44 from a Christmas party fund).
The Correspondence Unit, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, FBI ($260).
The Division of Management Policy, National Institutes of Health ($50 from members of the coffee fund).
The Future Homemakers of America chapter at West Springfield High School ($50).
The Association of American Foreign Service Women ($500 from their annual book fair).
Northern Virginia Volksmarchers ($100).
Patricia Morris' second-grade class at Olde Creek Elementary School in Fairfax ($5).
The Facilities Management Division of the Internal Revenue Service ($176.15 left over from FMD's "Fall Fling").
The Quiet Woman, a country store in Calverton, Va. ($25).
Employes of Watkins-Johnson, a Gaithersburg electronics firm ($41 collected at a pre-Christmas raffle).
The Corporate Office of Nuclear Fuel Services Inc., of Rockville ($295 from the employes, $300 from the company).
The Rose C. and Harold H. Kramer Foundation ($100).
Much obliged, each and every one of you.