More than a decade ago, I received a visit from a retired federal government official in my office on Village Center Drive.

I had been forewarned about this visit from a friend. When the official arrived, my ear was to the phone in a conversation. I was on deadline.

The person at the front desk put a yellow Post-it note on my desk that I kept for years: “Janet Reno is here.”

She was visiting her aunt, Winnie Wood, in Fern Valley, and wanted to stop by and talk to me.

After our conversation, she posed with me for a photo that I kept in that office until I retired. It is somewhere at home. I must find it again.

It was not an “official” visit — afterall, she was retired — but the former U.S. attorney general did come to talk about a particular subject with me. No, it wasn’t the subject of the Branch Davidian’s in Waco, Texas, or the Elian Gonzalez case, or any of the other controversies that racked her two years in DC.

She thought the Idyllwild Transfer Station was the cleanest “dump” she had ever seen.

When she visited Winnie and her friend Dot Lewis’ house, Janet often spent hours raking the yard and then helping them haul leaves and pine needles to the “dump.”

We had a lovely little chat about the “dump” and Idyllwild.

I remember that little visit with fondness, even though my extremely conservative photographer at the time almost refused to take the pic.

She already showed signs of the Parkinson’s disease that took her life last Monday, but she was a soldier, helping her favorite aunt and our beloved Dot, both former Women’s Airforce Service pilots in World War II, clean their yard.

Becky Clark, Editor