The unwritten rule really is true. Many District Liners do wait until the last minute to make their contributions to Children's Hospital.

Bill Gold prepared me for about every contingency that has arisen during our fund-raiser for Children's Hospital. But nothing was ever said about the veritable flood of contributions currently pouring through our pipeline. It's great to see it again.

In fact, I had just about forgotten that there was ever a time when Bill had to say, "Try to get at least two dozen groups in every day or you'll get behind." After I caught up, I wished I was behind again.

Believe it or not, there just isn't any room today for a tally of the numerous "anonymous individuals" contributions received from my readers. They'll have to rest in the shoebox an extra day or two before becoming members of my club.

Let's get started!

A check for $5 issued by administrators at Albert Einstein Senior High School in Kensington included a notation describing it as a "memorial" for a student's mother.

Members of the American Legion Cheverly Post No. 108 couldn't decide how to cheer up a friend staying at Prince George's Community Hospital, so he told them: No flowers or fruit, please; just send the money to Children's Hopsital. They sent $15.

"The enclosed check of $25 for Children's Hospital comes from the members of the Order of William IV, College Park Chapter. We started the collection late in the year, but we're starting now for next Christmas," wrote an admirer of William IV.

The club was formed for "celebrating beer -- agriculture's highest achievement," as they say. Since the club has made promises, we'll see how well the highest achievement inspires them next year.

Staffers at Homes By Owner Inc. sent the Children's Hospital fund drive $25 last year, their first year in business. This year they sent $50 and this message: "Our business has yet to shake the world but the company will double its contribution anyway." That's the spirit District Liners appreciate.I hope business picks up and grows so you can "double" every year.

A "donation can" placed on the prescription counter at Springfield Drug Center had enough appeal to gather $55 of truly anonymous contributions from store customers. A small portion came from store employees.

The Jaynor Inc folks sent an original poem along with their check for $60.

It read: "The 30-year old shoebox would give me dis-ease, so get me to the Children on time please!" Consider it done, my friends.

Staffers of the Browne Academy and Brownie Preschool diverted $75 to the hospital's free-care fund by not exchanging Christmas cards during the past holiday season.

The officers of the Jacob Heckman Foundation sent me a $100 check for Children's Hospital several weeks ago. Today another $100 check arrived with this explanation: "We are enclosing another check in the same amount to help you achieve your goal of $223,000. We are sure you will succeed."

"The friends of Dynatrend decided that emptying the coffee fund was easier than passing the hat. Here is our contribution of $107.03 for the children. We included the three cents to make sure your cordless abacus was operating properly."

The agents and staff at Better Homes Realty Inc joined our hospital fund-raiser for the first time this year. They collected $115 with the famous "in lieu of Christmas cards" method.

Employees at the Columbia Pike Thrift Shop also placed a "donation can" in a prominent position in their store and watched as customers started to fill it up. Last week they rounded out the total to $120, and sent it in to the children.

High up on the contributor totem pole are two unexpected and very helpful gifts. Just a few more like these would put us over the quarter-million mark.

The first tremendous bonus for the free-care fund came from members of the Club Americana, Inc. This year was the twelfth year of uninterrupted support for the hospital from the group. Checks totaling $2,161 arrived this morning. I was positive that gift would close our day.

Well, when it rains it pours.

Just four or five envelopes later, an unmarked manila envelope turned out to be the annual contribution sent "on behalf of the United Airlines employees and associates." The list of major components making substantial contributions to the United Airlines total of $3,918.50 is too long to recount here. But their individual efforts are truly appreciated, and nicely reflected in the overall United total.

These 13 organizations added $6,806.53 to the shoebox, two days after the drive ended. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $196,144.56 yesterday, it now holds $202,951.09. And we still have Mother Bell to tabulate.