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I Could Hardly Keep from Laughing book cover
To Purchase this Book:

Contact Bill Mares, or click here to find an independent Vermont bookseller near you. Also available at Abe Books 

and other national online bookstores.

Cartoon from I Could Hardly Keep from Laughing
—Anne Galloway, founder of VTDigger
“The real deal of Vermont's rich history of humor.”
Don Hooper & Bill Mares
Bill Mares and Don Hooper

In early 2018, Don Hooper and I met at the Three Penny Pub in Montpelier to catch up. We had met in 1985, our first term as State Representatives, and we shared an affection for the Capitol's denizens and ghosts. His zany cartoons illustrated the last Mares-Bryan book of political humor:  Out of Order: the Un-official State House Archives.

For the next twenty-five years Don continued, like a cartoon version of Edward Gibbon, to "scribble, scribble, scribble" and send friends an irregular stream of drawings from a host of fictitious card companies mysteriously located at his home. We stayed in touch and, Don was a contributor the book to The Full Vermonty.

Over a beer, he asked "What's the next

book?" Quick as lightning, I said,  "A history of Vermont humor, but only if you'll do it with me."  He agreed.  I had begun  to collect old stories, but we quickly saw how much humor, itself, has changed, from its subjects, objects, drawing styles, and live performances. A Vesuvius of Hooper cartoons erupted.  During one stretch of three months, he sent a cartoon almost everyday.  Chris and I would judge them and then put the winners on the icebox door.  In fact, Don's cartoons were so original and profuse that there was nothing to do but  put his name first on the cover.

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