I somewhat taken back by the early start of school this year, not that it has much to do with me since I'm empty nested. August 14th is the date set for Ames which is the earliest I can remember. i had to take a few moments, dust off the cobwebs of my brain and remember the schedule of my childhood. School always began the day after Labor Day and ended, in most cases, the first week of June. I also recall weather had a lot to do with it as we did not have the luxury of air conditioning. The heat often caused a horrible rash from the rubbing of the leather strap we carried our books with. Lunch sacks were replete with the oily stains of the gourmet meal packed by our mothers. All that being said I cannot help but think how rebellious my group of young toughs would be at the thought of beginning in the middle of August. You better believe hookey plans would be made at the old swimming hole far in advance with thoughts of Tom, Huck and me building a raft and escaping down the mighty Des Moines River.