MFB staff unanimously agree that the best communications from Upper Peninsula Regional Manager Craig Knudson come from way out in left field — random stuff you never see coming. Last Tuesday morning he emailed me this picture.
“This old Oldsmobile is Rod’s grandfather's car,” he wrote. “Look at the bumper stickers.”
That was it.
Rod is Rodney Johnson, the longtime president of the Iron Range Farm Bureau who, in partnership with his brother Dale, runs the family’s Johnson Brothers Potato Farm just west of Sagola. (It’s a hike.)
My contact there is Rod’s daughter, Iron Range Ironwoman Faith Kuzak. Faith is an ace: a straight-talking, get-it-done force of nature who suffers no fools mucking up the works between her and the execution of outstanding Farm Bureau projects and activities there in the heart of the central-western U.P. potato country.
“That’s actually my great grandma Senia’s car,” Faith said about the massive Oldsmobile. “Well okay it was her husband Elmer’s before hers but grandma Senia still had the car after he passed away. It still has the laundry basket in the back seat.
“Senia was a very innovative person,” Faith shared, explaining how she kept the farm going, paid the bills and fed the kids even when Elmer had to supplement their income working the ore docks.
Subsequent generations inherited Elmer & Senia’s Oldsmobile, but its use declined over time and the license plate agrees with Faith that it was last registered in 1979, which synchs perfectly with the vintage Farm Bureau Insurance logos on the twin stickers by the towering tail lights.
The car appears to be an Olds 98 from the late 1960s or early 70s; fine-tuning from savvy car nerds is welcome. If you’ve got hidden Farm Bureau family treasures hiding out at your place, send us a picture at [email protected] so we can share!