You might expect someone approaching his 81st birthday to be taking it easy, watching TV in a nice air-conditioned room. “Not Me,” says Paul Pagano, who will reach that age on August 3. “The Good Lord keeps me healthy, and as long as I can, I will continue making people smile.”
Pagano, who lives in St. Louis, is better known to the public as Father Time. He has been attending parades, celebrations and sporting events in costumes to fit the occasion since 1985.
“I love what I do. My mission is to spread myself, to bring smiles to people faces. I greet people and they smile, see. My signs and costumes always express the occasion, like God Bless America, Go Cardinals, and Buona Festa for Hill Day celebrations, things like that. I have no wealth, but I have my health. I can’t be like some old people who say ‘it’s too hot, it’s too crowed, there’s too much walking.’”
Now, I’ve been attending Cardinals games since I was 5 years old. And I’ve always seen this guy standing in the same spot with his traditional signs and costumes. But yesterday I was at Kinko’s making copies for an audience handout when I saw an old man wearing a sequenced red top hat and a sign that read “NUMBER 1 CARDINAL FAN!”
It was him! It was the guy from the games!
I had to say something.
“See the Cards play Philly last night?” I asked.
“Yeah, there were a few too many errors in that game. But we’ll get ’em next time!”
“You know, I see you at the Cardinals games all the time. How long have you been doing this?”
“Going on 20 years now. Yeah, I love meeting people and going to those games. Sometimes I think I’m more of a mascot to the Cardinals than Fredbird!”
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who is your local “that guy”?
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Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag