God, family, friends and laughter

  • A happy legacy: Eugene and Jewell Woods of Sandys celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this month, which included a surprise dinner in Orlando, Florida with 40 guests

    A happy legacy: Eugene and Jewell Woods of Sandys celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this month, which included a surprise dinner in Orlando, Florida with 40 guests
    (Photograph supplied)

  • Jewell and Eugene Woods on their wedding day, 60 years ago. (Photograph supplied)

    Jewell and Eugene Woods on their wedding day, 60 years ago. (Photograph supplied)

Eugene “Buck” Woods knows a good thing when he sees it.

He spotted Jewell Raynor on the street in 1957 and knew instantly that she’d make an excellent wife.

“She was a very attractive young lady,” the 83-year-old recalled. “There was just something about her.”

The problem was, she didn’t feel the same way.

“I didn’t know much about him,” said Mrs Woods, 78. “I knew he didn’t attend the Seventh-day Adventist Church like I did. Plus, he was always smiling at me like a hyena.”

Although she tried to avoid him, the police constable seemed to appear at every turn.

She was surprised, once he finally caught her, to learn he wanted to know more about God. “I asked her if I could come to church with her,” he said. “Really, I just wanted to spend some time with her.”

The ploy worked. The couple were married within a year and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on April 10.

“Our success is built on our love of God, love of family, love of friends and love of laughter,” Mrs Woods said. “We did not have pre-marriage counselling in those days.

“I love to save money; my husband loves to spend; I love to communicate; he did not enjoy talking about anything except cricket. I loved going to church on weekends, he loved to play cricket.”

Mr Woods said he most loves that his wife has a funny side.

“She has a very dry sense of humour,” he said. “She loves English comedies like Are You Being Served? When I first started watching them with her, I couldn’t get the jokes at all.

“Now I get them — after watching so many of them. She loves to tell jokes, but she’s really bad at it. She has this habit of saying the punchline first.”

He also respects how dedicated she is to God.

While church may have been a ploy for Mr Woods when they were dating, it has become a central part of his life. Both he and his wife are active members of Mount Zion AME Church.

As a child however, cricket was his life.

He loved playing near his home on Broome Street in Sandys with his friends, batting with whatever piece of wood he could find.

He became one of the island’s premier fast bowlers, playing for a number of teams including Somerset Bridge and Willow Cuts. At age 18, with the help of Alma “Champ” Hunt, he became one of the first Bermudians to play for England, with the Penzance Cricket Club in Cornwall.

He returned to Bermuda after two years and became a police officer.

His career spanned 16 years; by the end he’d reached the rank of sergeant.

“I was the only Bermudian who got hurt in the Belco riots (of 1965),” he said. “I got struck in the side of my face by a large mayonnaise bottle full of water. I ended up in the maternity ward of the hospital along with 16 other policemen.”

He jokes that he’s still recovering from that. In 1972, he became a security guard in a hotel.

According to Mrs Woods there are times when her husband seems to forget he’s not an officer any more.

“Sometimes we’re driving, and he’ll see a young boy go flying by on his bike,” she said. “Then he’ll try to catch up with the young person. He’s caught up with a few and given them a lecture.”

Mr Woods loves working with young people.

He has coached boys in cricket at Port Royal Primary School and has served as a mentor to young people at his church since retiring in 2005.

Mrs Woods spent much of her working life in retail, managing the English Sports Shop. She also ran her own stores in Hamilton, Fabric World and the Park Lane Collection, in the 1980s.

The couple have done a lot of travelling since she retired in 2015. They celebrated their anniversary while visiting their son Darren in Orlando, Florida.

“My son and his wife Anna gave us a wonderful surprise by taking us to Seasons 52, a very fine restaurant in the area,” Mrs Woods said. “Our daughters, Gene Ann and Laniece, flew in. It was a surprise. We had 40 guests at the restaurant.

“It was just beautiful. There were lovely people and we greeted our guests and gave our legacy of a very happy marriage with its ups and downs.”

Lifestyle profiles senior citizens in the community every Tuesday. To suggest an outstanding senior contact Jessie Moniz Hardy: 278-0150 or jmhardy@royalgazette.com. Have on hand the senior’s full name, contact details and the reason you are suggesting them

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Published Apr 24, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 23, 2018 at 10:32 pm)

God, family, friends and laughter

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