“I love the Information Booth,” says Sue Buck. “We mostly see very happy people who are just trying to find something.” Even with the traffic problems at the new site last fall, “people were mostly accepting and patient.” Sue has co-coordinated the information booth at the Common Ground Fair for the past two years. Before that, she assisted at the booth, picked up trash, and sold tickets. She started volunteering “just by coming to the Fair and realizing that we (she and her husband, Lee) wanted to be more involved. We came everyday anyway.”
A new location might be a challenge for direction-givers, but Sue says the move from Windsor to Unity was “not as hard as I expected.” Some of that was due to the wheel-and-hub layout: “It’s great at the new site. Once you figure it out, it’s easy.” Besides, she likes trying to clear up a fairgoer’s muddy sense of where things are. “I like figuring things out. It’s like proofreading, I guess.”
Proofreading? When you proofread, according to Sue, “you are trying to make something more clear, figuring out the best way around.” She proofreads for the Maine Legislature, and while she does not make substantive changes on the proposed legislation she proofs, she does help “when they don’t have down what they really want to say because of words and punctuation.”
When the Legislature is in session, Sue commutes to Augusta from her home in Weld, west of Farmington. She and Lee moved there 22 years ago, when they left Cape Cod because of “crowds, traffic and so forth.” Staying there with friends after their summer stint working at a camp in Casco, they “fell in love” with Weld, went home to pack, and “moved the refrigerator and mattresses in time to put the kids in school.”
In the summer, when the Legislature is finished for the year, Sue is the night receptionist at the Mt. Blue State Park. The job is “as close as I can get to being outdoors,” and, as she works from four to midnight, it “gives me my days.” During those days at home she grows flowers and vegetables, especially tomatoes, to which she is “addicted.” She tries every variety she hears about: “The descriptions are so wonderful. They are so good and last such a short time. Mostly, it’s just the growing.” She gardens at work, too, especially since a local nursery donated lots of perennials and she went “big-time,” notwithstanding the moose who nibbled the plants. Her co-workers tell her she will have to volunteer after she retires to tend the flowers.
Sue at the Common Ground information booth is a means to getting where you want to go, but Sue as a performer is also a destination. She and her musical partner for the past four years, L.D. McKimmy, have sung there at the open mike and, last year, in a regularly scheduled spot. As “L.D. McKimmy and Sue Buck,” they “have a lot of fun” singing “broadly folk” music. They do songs her partner has written and quite a few cowboy songs “nobody else has heard” – the fruit of the 10 or so years he spent in Texas. They sing for coffeehouses, fairs, even the Legislature, and recorded a tape, “Daydreams,” for Outer Green Music. If you want to know where you can get a copy, call Sue (585-2519). She’ll help you figure it out.
– Ann Cox Halkett