From the 80th birthday of Hudnell Garris Frazier, one of Pasadena's ""premier"" citizens and pioneers, to his death some months later, the memories of a lifetime flicker through this sometimes confused old man's mind and the present slides noiselessly back to the past. Now Gary, his youngest son- the child of his middle age, returns from England for the occasion with his unexpected bride of a brief courtship. It is Gary particularly who is the mnemonic catalyst and there are intermittent scenes: of the time when as a young man Hudnell went west to buy an orange grove and house to end as a successful real estate entrepreneur with large holdings; of his marriage to Ellen whose presence is a as strong now as he faces death as it was in life. It is a long book, a leisurely book, ambient (sometimes questionably so) in its use of narrative materials, and autumnal in tone. And while it is pleasantly written, it is disappointing for those who remember John Espey's conspicuously appealing reconnaissance of his own personal past in Tales Out of School and Minor Heresies.