Aphroditi was a little unsure about me writing to folk and using her name, however obliquely, so I changed the story a little. The quest remained the same. The obvious first recipient was Bob Hope. (Sadly it was returned as "NOT FORWARDABLE".)
Dear Mr Hope,
I hope this letter finds you well.
I hope this letter finds you. Period.
I have trusted it to the tender mercies of NBC as I understand that you do work with them occasionally and it was the only way I could think of to contact you.
Anyway, I hope you don't mind but I have made the difficult and somewhat embarrassing decision to throw myself on the Axminster before you and be a small wedge of your time.
Let me explain:
I am a father of three small, but very inquisitive boys. They have shown themselves at being amazingly adept at contriving curly questions. To date I have managed to fend off their questions fairly well and have retained my exulted position of "Chief Sage & Oracle".
Although the pedestal has rocked precariously at times.
The reason for this letter to you is in hope of getting a definitive answer to a question that my six year old son, Richard, put to me when we were watching a rerun of "The Princess & The Pirate".
At one point in the film you feign being stabbed with a sword and, sprawling dramatically on the floor, rip open your top and, lo!, a lily pops up...
(Wait for it: here comes the question...)
"Why is the man holding the flower?" asks Richard.
"To stop it falling over?" I offer.
Yes, but whay is the man holding the flower?" he persists.
"Well...uh...um..."I mumbles back. "It's a lily; it's of traditional for people to hold a lily when they die. Have you ever seen Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck with one? They always have lilies in the cartoons..."
"Why?" he counters.
"OK, OK, there must be someone who knows; I'll find out."
I've tried encyclopaedias, friends, neighbours, libraries; all to no avail. So I thought I would write to you in the hope that the thing had a theatrical origin and that you may be able to rescue me.
I gained a little time by telling Richard that I would explain it to him after he cleaned up his bedroom. I reckon I've got about two weeks.
Yours in desperation...