You certainly can't see the former attorney general's home from the road. Vegetation so thick a wild hog could barely run through it blocks the view. A winding dirt path passes a no trespassing sign and leads to the Reno home. It is a simple structure built mostly by Janet's mother, Jane Wood Reno, in the late forties.
It has been the scene of thousands of gatherings of the large family festooned with many tall, intelligent, rangy Renos. They either gathered outside (there's a lot of "outside" on its four acres) or on the wide front porch. There were many public gatherings there as well including Janet's memorial, last fall.
My first visit celebrated one of her election victory's when she ran for State Attorney in 1978. I've been to a few others since and they were always filled with down-home joy, adventurous family stories and cold beer. Poetry recitations and song were almost mandatory.
Every story has an ending and the last Reno Ranch family gathering took place last Saturday. The house is passing on to a new owner which, as it turns out, is not a bad thing.
Eighty-five people gathered in the yard where the four barefoot Reno kids, Janny, Maggy, Bobby, and Mark, once took turns riding Tony the pony. There was plenty of delicious food, libations, and time to share more stories. It was an opportunity to say goodbye to Janet once more and to seventy of years of festive, family gatherings.
Maggy Hurchalla, Janet's little sister, besides being a political leader and esteemed environmentalist, proved herself to be an outstanding party planner as well.
The guest house out back
The historic Reno home will be donated to Miami-Dade College. The school's south campus is located just a half-mile away. The distinctive house that Jane built will be preserved. The Reno Ranch will become an extension of the school's environmental center.
Most things won't change. We're assured the tall Reno-like fowl will continue to all have the same name, "Horace".