Made of Dust

An imperfect guy who likes to write

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Uranus is Gassy, It’s Science (Part 1)

I think my wife is right. I’m an oversized 11-year-old boy. How on Earth do they allow me to educate 11-year-olds?

At work, I try to maintain a professional dress and demeanor. In the hallways, most would see me with my khakis, name tag and neatly tucked-in shirt and make some sort of judgement that I’m one of those “serious” or strict teachers.

I’ve had students that come into the year having never had a male teacher and having never heard about me from previous students or families. They walk into my classroom a nervous wreck, some to the point of nausea and tears. Continue reading

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The Day I Decided I Became a Man…at 12 Years Old

There I sat, on the floor in front of him with tears in my eyes and a box full of GI Joes between us. Around us I had scattered all the accessories and assortment of GI Joe tanks, planes, helicopters, hovercrafts and every toy related to them.

“When I grew into a man, I put away my childish things.” was on a loop in my thoughts. Continue reading

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The Year I Wore a Corny Bracelet

Always a Runner-Up
I have always loved watching, playing, coaching, reading or even just talking about sports. The goal of any sport, individual or team, is to become Champion.

In my experience, I rarely ever became one on the field or on the court. I had always been on teams that finished no better than 2nd, regardless of sport or teammates. I considered myself the best runner-up in the tri-state. Perhaps I was a Champion Runner-Up? Continue reading

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Coal People

My great aunt Jessie squinted in the direction of the sun as it set on the hill, orange light broken up between the trees. She was reminiscing with us about her dad, my great grandfather, Dee Barrett.

She was there. I mean back there, back then. Back when she was a young girl, sitting at the table with her dusty feet swinging from the chair’s height, surrounded by her sisters and brothers. She was with us in the physical, but in her mind she was at that table.

She shared with us that evening how she could vividly remember the way he’d come home, kick his filthy boots off and remove his miner’s hat before entering the tiny place they all called home. Continue reading

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Licked By Fear

Life has a way of teaching us lessons, even in bizarre situations.  Can I share with you a story about one particularly ridiculous event that taught me a little something about running away from fear?

Lester and Meredith Miller had the prettiest home on the block.  It was a two-story brick home built in the early 1900s.  The front porch was huge, made of concrete and had brick columns and a brick rail around it.  Two giant maple trees in the front yard that made the perfect shade for breaks in the summer.  Their front yard was separated from the side yard and back yard by a white picket fence that was about three feet tall. Continue reading

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Keyboard Therapy: Session 1

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My name is Jason Whitaker.  I’m a happily married, 40-year-old dad and teacher.  I have been encouraged over the years to write by those closest to me.  My wife, Amber, inspired me to start a blog.  First step?  Find out what a blog is.

I am not technically or formally trained to write.  For me, writing is a release of some instant thought or memory that clouds my brain until it is out.  I do have a valve which controls and keeps the thoughts from just streaming out of my mouth uncontrollably, but it’s leaky.  I hate that I sometimes interrupt people when they’re mid-conversation as I begin to tell some completely unrelated story that just pops into my head.  I’ve done it though.  Enough times to be quite familiar with the look of “you jerk-face” on people’s faces as they stare at me in disbelief.  I immediately feel guilt, realizing how rude I’ve been.  I tell the story anyway at that point.  Even more rude, right? Continue reading

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