The Lily Saga

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With a bit of trepidation I replied to Richard J. O'Hara, but used my parents post office box. The last thing I wanted was some demented axe murderer abusing me through the front letter box.


Mr Dear Mr O'Hara,

You do write a most unusual letter!

The Age, in what at best must be considered an act of mischief, if not outright malice, forwarded an odd assortment of letters, photocopies and facsimiles to me that relate to "The Lily Saga".

You vied fairly evenly with a "Frodo T. M. Table-Leg" of Port Elliot, South Australia, for the award of 'pick of the bunch'.

More for style than content, however. As far as lilies are concerned your letter could be looked on as something of a marvel of geometry, being simultaneously both flat and hollow. You cover almost everything but the issue at hand.

You make five loosely unrelated points/paragraphs...

1. On the thoughtless dragging of a six year old into the precarious realms of the occult:

I suggest you go down to your local library and, on finding the children's section, have a close look at some of the books there. There is one by the Brothers Grimm that springs to mind.

Children live in the occult plane and visit the more mundane realms only when dessert or pocket money are in the offing.

2. The Toffee Apple Story: I have changed my mind and decided that I don't want to comment on this one. Do you blame me?

3. That I limited the rules of play by defining the lily.

From your letter I would not have guessed that you were in the habit of being restrained by any rules of play.

If you re-read my letter you will see that I did not say that the lily was of the genus arum. I just referred to "the white Arum lily". Zantedeschia aethiopica, in fact. It is an Aroid, of the Arum family and is the lily associated with death scene that prompted this saga. The Monsteria is of the same family but Bob Hope did not use a Monsteria. You may be wage-enslaved by such impedimentia as you wish but before you aspire to educate me please quote me correctly.

4. Applying the hand of knowledge to the seat of learning and "whether he ought to take out a State Bank loan for a maths course"

That one went straight through to the keeper; just a mite too obscure for me. If you really wish to educate me, now's your chance: why the maths reference.

5. Gematria & Stillicide, no less.

If I thought that the last paragraph was a bit obscure, I was in no way ready for the finale. Gemantria and stillicide, indeed! Even knowing what they mean doesn't help instil any sense into the overall paragraph. It was somewhat akin to Gorgonzola cheese; awesome in it's power but hard to see the reason for it.

Anyway, why not use my son as a social accessory? I could dress him up as a parrot for hire to those legions of bald-headed men who are happy to accept the advice from those sales attendants.

And as for counting my large change...you obviously have no children, Mr O'Hara. There has been no change, large, small or otherwise, in this family for many a year.

My letter obviously struck a chord, or at least a sour note, in you for it to unleash such a power-packed reply. It will be of almost no consolation to you for me to tell you that it was heavily edited. For example, the paragraph on dancing camels was completely deleted.

I trust your day will improve,

Yours in shock, Lee Kennedy.


I'd forgotten about the dancing camels. The letter to the Age, while similar to all the others, started:

I am in something of a quandary.

Now this is not, as you may suspect, the fourth stomach of a Baklavian dancing camel. Nor is it a type of out-rigger canoe used by the Melanesians in their relentless pursuit of the spotted dugong across the Java Sea.

It is, of course, a state of perplexity; let me explain...

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