Tom Stone’s recollection of his initial excitement and eventual disillusionment operating The Beautiful Helen, a tavérna on the Greek Island of Patmos, is told with humor and style, while his love and knowledge of the island further enriches the pages.
In years past, my favorite time of day had always been late afternoon until sunset. At four, people would begin leaving the beach, so by five, it was almost entirely deserted. With the sun low in the sky behind the tavérna, the shadows of the tamarisk trees would lengthen across the beach, reaching out toward the sea, whose metallic-blue surface was gradually taking on the changing hues of the sky. If there were clouds to reflect the rays of the setting sun, the effect was magical, particularly with the wind dropping as it usually did in the evening. Then the surface of the sea would seem to float above itself on nearly imperceptible swells, iridescent with contrasting layers and swirls of turquoise, violet, and pink. That there could be such beauty – and such stillness – was almost incomprehensible.
For those of us in the restaurant business, however, this period was incontestably the most anxiety-ridden of the day – the calm before the storm – in which you frantically raced against the clock to clear away the debris of lunch while simultaneously trying to prepare dinner. – from The Summer of My Greek Tavérna: a Memoir, by Tom Stone
Tom Stone’s Website