A colorful portrait of a vanished time and a way of life filled with many memorable characters. As a child in the 1930s, Spence spent several summers on Upper Saranac Lake, over which his imperious blue-blooded Kentucky grandfather presided. Using his grandfather as a focal point, the author depicts the construction, decor and lifestyle associated with the great camps. While his grandfather indulged a life of patrician arrogance by recasting his ancestors as Civil War heroes and cultivating the local elite, Bud, the young scion of his line, took up more practical pursuits. His tutor was the camp's handyman and erstwhile guide, an uncouth Swede who relished profanity and waged daily battles with a tin boat.