The Life and Understanding of Franklin Jones
1971 By Franklin Jones
Chapter 2: The Listener
My earliest years were gratuitous, a free enjoyment whose wisdom was unearned. This is true of all men, but many of us learn suffering very soon, and so even the given becomes a matter of problems and of seeking. Beyond my tenth year I was more often solemn, and humor become more an action of creation. I turned from mostly pleasure to listening.
As a small boy I like to use the ways of increasing enjoyment and humor in others I recited poems and rhymes, sang and told stories. I made a puppet theatre in the cellar and put on shows for the neighbors and their children and all my relatives. Then I was a ventriloquist and a dancer, and until I was thirteen I always performed comedy with my dummy at school. I loved to draw and paint, and everyone took pleasure in what I made, so that I even won the “art award” when I left eighth grade to go to high school.
Religion took on a certain humor for me as I came to adolescence. I was an acolyte in the Lutheran church, and nearly every Sunday I served in the altar. Once every month the church took communion, and I would prepare the altar. I filled the little glasses in the trays with wine and set out the pressed discs of unleavened bread.
I would have to get up very early to serve on those communion Sundays. From the time I was about eight or nine my parents ceased to go to church except on the important holidays. holidays. And so I would get up on those Sundays alone, about 6 a.m., and leave for church without breakfast. I would get very hungry while I poured the wine into glasses and packed the wafers into the paten. The wine was contained in a special glass bottle. It had a rubber bulb on top that injected a bit of wine into a glass through a little spout as you pressed it.