We made a remarkable push in the last few days of this year’s fundraising campaign for Children’s National Medical Center, and if in the end we didn’t quite reach our $400,000 goal, we still raised a very respectable amount: $327,861.32.

If you donated, thank you. I also want to thank the groups of area employees, neighbors, hobbyists, students and others who pooled their money for Children’s. For the 44th year in a row, Lois Kelso Hunt and her neighbors in Alexandria’s Shooter’s Hill did “ecumenical caroling,” raising $1,171 in memory of Lois’s late son, Nathaniel.

Each year a group of kids in Chevy Chase D.C. puts on an hour-long version of “A Christmas Carol” in the cafeteria of Blessed Sacrament School. They call themselves the Northampton Street Players and pass Scrooge’s hat around to take a collection. This year they raised $531.25. God bless us, everyone!

Here are other group donors (if I’ve omitted your group, please let me know):

Disabled American Veterans, Washington office ($6,202.57)

United Airlines mechanics, Dulles ($795)

Air Line Pilots Association, International, Herndon and Washington offices ($886)

Montgomery Gentlemen ($200)

Women’s Life Insurance Society, Unit 3 ($100)

Army Navy Country Club Duplicate Bridge Club ($150)

The MALL women’s bridge group ($69)

Somerset Women’s Bridge Club, Fairfax ($115)

Matthew 25 Fund, George Mason University’s Catholic Campus Ministry, in memory of Jimmy O’Neill ($745)

McLean Monday Bridge Group ($125)

Wiley Rein LLP, Washington ($500)

Locke Lord LLP, Washington ($250)

Joyful Heart Yoga, Vienna ($760)

Garden Grooming, in memory of Sophie Bea Shimm ($435)

Management Analysis ($1,487.55)

Green Thumb Garden Club of Ravensworth Farm ($145)

Long and Foster Real Estate, Burtonsville ($183)

The Monday Group, trade association chief executive networking group ($1,475)

Mrs. Forbrich’s class, Lake Seneca Elementary School, Germantown ($150)

Colmar Manor Seniors Club ($100)

Laureate Kappa chapter of Beta Sigma Phi ($25)

Thanks also to my colleague Gerri Marmer, who handles the accounting on this end, and to the many Children’s patients, parents, doctors and nurses who shared their stories. All of the money we raised goes to the hospital’s uncompensated care fund, which pays the bills of underinsured children.

A little more conversation

Will all doctors’ assistants and waiters please heed me? To wit:

Doctors’ assistants, why when I go to my primary care physician and am shuttled into the examination room to await the MD, do you take my blood pressure, write it down and then refuse to tell me what it is? Is it a secret? Is it so high or so low that the mere mention of it will send me into shock?

And waiters, why when you have rattled off that evening’s dinner specials — seared, black pepper-encrusted ahi tuna with a watercress confit served atop a bed of field greens and drizzled with a reduction of Ovaltine — do you refuse to tell me what it costs? Is it a secret? Is it so high or so low that the mere mention of it will send me into shock?

I think we’re entitled to this information.

Winter wanderland

Laurel’s Tony Glaros spent the holidays in Ocean City, where, as he took his morning walks along a nearly deserted Coastal Highway, he spied reminders that it was another slow winter at the beach:

A sign outside 7-Eleven read, “Restrooms are available for customers,” instead of what it reads at the height of summer: “Customers are strictly forbidden from using the restrooms.”

In front of a miniature golf course: “Unlimited golf all day! Free ice cream!”

And on the marquee of a real estate office: “Give thanks to a market where prices are so low. Interest rates have never been this good.”

Wonders Tony: “Can Memorial Day be that far away?”

Radio silence

I worked my way through college 30 years ago delivering pictures to Colorfax photo stores around the D.C. area. We delivery drivers had a fleet of Ford Pintos at our disposal, eventually upgraded to . . . Chevettes. The options extended no further than an AM radio in each car.

The only thing that kept me sane as I stewed in D.C. traffic each afternoon was listening to Bill Trumbull and Chris Core on WMAL. Theirs was a gently funny program: Top 40 music and the sort of light, friendly banter that wouldn’t last five minutes on today’s WMAL, which is full of right-wing nutjobs unspooling their wacky conspiracy theories.

Trumbull died Tuesday at 77. It was nice having him in the car with me all those years ago.

For John Kelly’s previous columns, go to