Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Marrying The "Least Fashionable Guy" On The Planet Was An Excellent Idea

My husband Jeff greets our niece, Poppy
last Christmas in Yankton, South Dakota.  
Happy Anniversary to my husband, Jeff Modereger!!

We got married exactly two years ago today, on August 26, 2012.

Marrying Jeff was by far the best decision I ever made for a billion different reasons. But I have a disclosure to make about him. Frankly, he's one of the least "with it" guys on the planet.

By that I mean, to him, not everything in life is a financial transaction.

It seems that nowadays, so many people will do something only if they personally gain from it.  Gain financially, gain in prestige. Doing something because it's the right thing to do is totally passe.

Not for Jeff. Nope. He actually thinks he should support and love people because they deserve it, not because any support he offers will make him rich. Can you believe that, in this day in age?

This is how ridiculous he can get: He's a college professor, and when any of his students show interest in the subject at hand and want to learn more, if the student needs support, advice, or a pep talk, he's there, willing to help out any way he can.

When any of his students show success, he's proud. Never mind his students' success doesn't make him a celebrity, or a rich guy, or anything like that.  He does it because it's the right thing.
Our dog Jackson leads Jeff on a walk
while we were out looking at fall
foliage last October in
Bakersfield, Vermont.  

Family is really important to Jeff. He'll move mountains to help them. He relishes the chance to visit with them. He loves telling stories of family lore.

Yeah, I know.  We're all supposed to be go-getters, with no time for family. Thankfully, Jeff never got that memo.

Home life with him is the same thing. All kinds of little things. He notes what kinds of cereal, cookies, drinks, food I like and he goes out of his way to get it when he's out grocery shopping. The dinners he cooks are always excellent.

I told him he should take his talent and win on "Chopped" or one of those Food Channel competitions, and win a fortune, but he says he just wants to make me happy.  And he does.

Jeff doesn't tolerate cruelty, dishonesty, shady deals or meanness. Especially against people, or animals who are most vulnerable. Maybe his kindness is as unfashionable as a 1970s powder blue polyester suit, but that kindness sure looks great on Jeff.

Unfortunately, Jeff's dad passed away recently.

His dad, Don Modereger, was a successful businessman in Yankton, South Dakota. His success meant he lived in a nice house and wasn't really wanting for anything.  (It didn't hurt that Jeff's mom, Lois Modereger, worked really hard with the business, her family and community too.)

But Don Modereger and the rest of the family didn't --and don't -- live extravagantly. That's largely because he gave back to the community, donating time and money to those who didn't have as much as he did.  Don Modereger was thoughtful, and kind, and gregarious. Jeff's like that too.

Jeff eulogized his dad, and talked about how his father thought it was important to support your neighbors, your community, people who could use a helping hand.   Jeff said his father brought people together, and made Yankton a better place, and that is his father's biggest and best legacy.  
Jeff shares a moment with his mom, Lois
Modereger, in Yankton, South Dakota
earlier this year.  

Jeff actually said this in public!! Jeff was actually saying profits and money aren't the most important thing in the world!  That being a decent human being is the most important thing a person can do.

How retro!!

It's funny. I constantly hear so many of his current and former students talk about how much they appreciate Jeff for all his help and support over the years. They tell him his help made them the success they are.  They love him, and think the world of him.

At his father's memorial service in South Dakota, so many people showed up to remember him that it caused a traffic jam outside the funeral home.

Don Modereger's friendliness and generosity and humor,  the kind of template Jeff uses to live his own life, seems to have gotten a huge reception in Yankton and the rest of the world.

As for me, I guess I'm out of step, too.  I don't care that Jeff doesn't have a ruthless bone in his body. That he's not going to step on anybody else to get ahead. That he actually cares how people are doing. That he thinks about other people's perspective before acting. That he's kind, and generous and funny as hell.

Maybe Jeff is on to something.  Maybe he isn't so retro. Maybe Jeff's so called old fashioned approach to life is actually fashion forward. Something everyone wants to, or should emulate.

Jeff makes me suspect that maybe the "Get Ahead At Any Cost" ethos that is the way we're "supposed" to act in this modern world is a sham.  Maybe he's actually a trend setter. I sure hope so.

I do know Jeff's attitude makes me less cynical of the world around me.  With him around, I'm that much less suspicious the world is out to scam me. There are perfect, decent people in the world. Jeff proves that to me every day by being one.

There are a zillion reasons why I love Jeff. His sense of humor, his love, his looks, his intelligence, his quick wit.

But after two years of marriage, the thing I love most about Jeff is how he is slowly changing me, day by day. I watch how he lives, his sense of morals and his decency.  Believe me, I'm taking notes as I watch him, and try to absorb it.

And that's why I think the "unfashionable" Jeff Modereger is actually maybe the most chic person in the world.  I hope everyone adopts Jeff's "look."

I know I'm trying it on for size. It's a good fit.

So Jeff, Happy Anniversary, and I pray for many, many more years together. I'm so lucky!!!

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