Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

In Remembrance of my cousin Dudley Virbert Woods

Dudley Virbert, also known as Rufus, but to many known as “DV,” was born on March 15, 1951. 1 christened him “Rufus” when he was seven and called him that his whole life, as well as many of his friends.

He was my first cousin and closest friend. I was five years older than him and recall visiting Dudley as a newborn with my mother. We came up to a small little wooden house with a lamp light burning in the room; the belief back then is that a well lit room was not good for the infant’s eyes.

My nephew Rodney Jones was born in November 1950, and these two little boys were like little brothers to me. We would often go fishing in a paddling dory. Rodney had an air rifle, and they were always shooting at crabs. I would judge who the best marksman was. They both turned out to be pretty good. Tyson McNab, the commandant in French Harbour, would hoist the Honduran flag in honor of president Carías’s birthday on March 15. Mr. Tyson McNab loved to pick DV up as a little boy. DV would stand at attention as Mr. Tyson hoisted the flag and saluted. They would take turns marching around the flag. This routine would continue for several years; DV told me this story many times laughing. He said that uncle Ty would wear him out marching then take him back home.

He was interested in carpentry work from a young age. He went to work with his uncle Homer Woods, who was the top carpenter. In 1969, I took him with me on the Mr. B to fish for lobsters. By the end of the trip, he had adapted to the lifestyle and the worked well. He was very good at it. DV could have continued to work with me to become captain on a fishing boat, but the family were more so tied to the construction business. DV decided to continue working under his Uncle Homer.

His first job as a young man was in construction of the French Harbour Yacht Club. In 1971, finished a cement house for Kern Hyde. In 1972 he built Captain Bob’s house, and then in ‘73 he built mine. These houses were the first three modern cement homes in French Harbour. DV used to call my house his model home, and would bring customers over to see it. Some of his biggest projects included Casa Warren, Fantasy Island Resort, Albert Jackson mansion (located at Fantasy Island), and Captain Mead Hyde’s Mansion. He continued to build across the island. He was known for his attention to detail and producing fine quality homes.

DV had many hobbies − shooting, volleyball, and especially fishing. He attended many fishing tournaments, the first being at Fantasy Island. He participated in most of them at West End, Utila, and Omoa. He won several of them and he was very proud of these accomplishments. In his professional life, DV went on to open a hardware store, a lumber yard, and a construction company.

His first job as a young man was in construction of the French Harbour Yacht Club.

He eventually built himself a mansion of his own. The master bedroom was bigger than the house he was born in. Rufus told me a story once where he was talking to my father about a young lady he was wanting to court. He wanted to visit her a few times to make sure he really liked her. My father (Archie) responded with − “Bullshit, if you like her, you will know it when you see her.” My father believed that you know it when you see it − love at first sight.

A few years later, Rufus was building a house in Bonacca. He was working on the roof when he looked down at the road and saw a pretty girl walking by. “A feeling hit me,” Rufus once told me. He climbed down the roof and asked his client who that girl was. By the time the sun went down, he was at her house. When he returned to French Harbour to visit he told me, “Uncle Archie really knows what he’s talking about. I am going to marry that girl primo!”

When he was ready to marry, he asked me if I could take him to get married the old fashion way − by boat to Coxen Hole. For this occasion, I obtained flags on the Hybur ship from all over the world and decorated the Miss Vangie Marilynn.

When we arrived at the dock in Coxen Hole, the comandante and a few soldiers met us there. He wanted to know what was happening, as he was new to the Island and hadn’t seen something like this before. I explained to him that this is an old Island tradition when someone gets married. We then invited him to join us for a cold beer, and became friends from that day forth. Towards the end of the night, they had a band-dance at the French Harbour Yacht Club, a party that would last all night.

Rufus had his wedding suit tailor made to fit. This wouldn’t be the last time he would wear this suit. He would continue to wear this suit for special occasions for many years. He would often brag that he is the only island man who could still fit in his wedding suit, 20 years later.

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