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Devon and Jeffo Smith posing for their Wedding Photo
Photo courtesy Jenkins Photography
Presto! After long prayerful wait, love appeared
By Molly Millett, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Sunday, August 15, 2004

"Amazing Jeffo: Not Your Typical Blind Magician," can make an object disappear, but he couldn't conjure up love so easily.

"Over the course of dating 20 years, I had found a lot of bad women, but had not found the right one," says the 47-year-old magician, whose real name is Jeff Smith. "A month or two before I met Devon, I had been praying to the Lord that, 'If you don't want me to get married, then withdraw this sense or urgency, where every woman I meet, I wonder, is this the one?' It was the most honest prayer I had ever said."

Devon McVeigh was praying, too.

"I had had a really bad dating experience in my 20s, so I decided I was going to focus on my career," says Devon, now 40. "But as I got older, I became more open, and I told God, 'If you want me to get married, you need to make it very apparent.' A week or two later, Jeff came to my school."

Not that Devon was happy to meet Jeff initially. At the time, Devon was a site manager for a school-age care program for a local school district. A colleague booked Jeffo, but then went on maternity leave. At the last minute, Devon learned that she would have to manage the event, which would be attended by all the elementary schools in the district.

"I was thinking, 'Who ever heard of a blind magician, anyway?'" Devon says.

Then, she met Jeff, dressed in a tuxedo, and her attitude improved.

"'I thought, Ooooo, nice hair,'" Devon says.

Jeff was impressed, too.

"Some people are uncomfortable being around somebody who is different- in my case, I tell really dumb jokes, I'm blind and I also have rheumatoid arthritis, so I use a cane," says Jeff, whose act focuses on getting children to think differently about differences and similarities between people.

"But Devon, who grew up knowing a blind neighbor, was really relaxed around me. She had a real serenity and composure about her. I thought she was really classy," he says.

Jeff asked Devon out; nervous about dating again, she hesitated; he gave her his business card; she called him.

Their first outing, browsing a magic shop and eating dinner at the Mall of America, went nicely. However, the night ended abruptly when a skittish Devon drove Jeff home but then deserted him halfway up his snowy, slippery apartment sidewalk.

"He asked for a hug, so I gave him the world's fastest hug and then pushed back so fast I almost fell back into the snow bank," Devon says. "To this day, I feel horrid that I left him."

"I knew she was nervous," Jeff says.

But their second date ; a casual evening of pizza, chocolate, cribbage and music at his apartment ; was, well, magical.

"I took the opportunity to just study him because although you can't really stare at people, with Jeff, he couldn't tell, so I remember thinking, 'Who is this guy and what makes him tick?'" Devon says. "I really did think he was 'Amazing' because of his positive attitude and his ability to live alone and do magic as his only profession."

Jeff was drawn to Devon in a different way.

"She has a very good vocabulary," he says. She's a great conversationalist, and she has a great wit. I like to have a good back-and forth, snappy repartee. "She's intelligent, too. All those things are important to me."

That's not to say there weren't some bumps.

"When we had our first kiss, we bumped noses," Devon says.

Devon and Jeff dated for seven moths before they were engaged, and during that time they bonded deeply because of the sudden death of Devon's mother and Jeff's shoulder surgery.

Fittingly, Jeff proposed using magic on Halloween night, pulling a ring box out of a seemingly empty cake pan.

They were married last July, and Devon felt blessed that she could see Jeff during the ceremony.

"When I was saying my vows, Jeff gave me this beautiful smile that I have never seen before or since. It was this gentle, peaceful, loving angelic smile, just for me. I started to cry," Devon says. "Even though I knew he couldn't look into my eyes, we were so close, and I could feel the energy, a spirit of love between us."

Because of that connection, Jeff says he didn't feel sad that he couldn't see his bride on their wedding day.

"I see Devon in a whole, deeper way than visual," he says. "Being blind, I've come to realize that the most important things in life are things you can't see, like love."

Molly Millett can be reached at mollymillett@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5505.

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