By Kristi OHarran, Herald Columnist
Going to an Everett Merchants baseball game is all the more enjoyable when visitors meet the super fan.
Carol Thompson of Everett is at every game, handing out flyers, selling dish towels, and smiling, always smiling.
She is very special.
Her uncle, Seth Dawson, said his niece was born in 1953.
“When she was a few years old we learned she suffered serious brain damage, but nobody could tell us with any certainty the cause,” Dawson said. “The damage may have been congenital in nature.”
Also, when Thompson was a toddler, the family was visiting at a friend’s home and the door to the basement steps was inadvertently left open.
“Carol fell down the steps, and we always felt that maybe that caused the trouble,” Dawson said. “Or maybe the cause was something else entirely.”
Dawson, a lobbyist for human service groups and a former Snohomish County prosecutor, takes his niece to Edmonds Community College baseball games and she follows the Seattle Mariners.
Who she particularly adores is Harold Pyatte, who is in his 35th season as owner and manager of the semi-pro Everett Merchants. The Pacific International League team is one rung down from the Everett AquaSox.
In 2005, Pyatte was inducted into the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kan.
To Thompson, he’s her “Harold.”
She was excited for his arrival before a recent Merchants game. He drove up to the dressing rooms and unloaded his van.
“Hi Harold!” Thompson called in a sing-song voice. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
He couldn’t have been happier to see her. Thompson took me on a tour of her stomping grounds, including her special bleacher seat, underneath the press box where her uncle announces Merchant games.
“Carol grew up to enjoy life just as much as she possibly can each and every day,” Dawson said. “She lived with her family, attended Lincoln School and graduated in 1973 in the same ceremonies as the Everett High School class for that year.”
Lincoln was where students received special education.
“She is good at solving word and other kinds of puzzles, such as unscrambling jumbled words, and playing a number of computer games,” Dawson said. “She knows by heart the birth date of each and every relative, close family friend and friends at the ball park.”
The sentimental woman told me how nice her Uncle Seth is. Her own father is dead.
“He’s right up there,” she said, pointing to Heaven. “He watches baseball games.”
Thompson keeps workers at Ray’s Drive-In Restaurant in Everett apprised of Merchant happenings. They have honored their loyal customer with a Carol Burger, just meat and cheese on a bun.
“She is here almost every day,” said Jeff Doleshel, whose family owns the restaurant. “If we see her coming, we slap it down and have it ready for her.”
Folks at Ray’s save state quarters for Thompson’s coin collection.
Around her home she shares with her mother, Thompson does chores and enjoys watching some television shows, including “Flip This House” and “Dog, the Bounty Hunter.”
Her mother, Ora Thompson, said her daughter enjoys camping, fishing and traveling with the family. She worked with her father, as his right hand, and learned to use tools.
“Her Dad made up a small toolbox for her,” Ora Thompson said. “She is very possessive of it. She enjoys assembling things.”
Thompson’s own chosen sport was swimming with the Special Olympics. When she showed an interest in baseball, her uncle began taking her to games.
“She quickly become a vocal fan of this hometown team,” Dawson said. “She loves to talk with the players and visit with many of the regular fans who attend the games, and boy is she happy when the Merchants win.”
Baseball is working magic with his niece.
“She seems as happy at these games as she ever has been throughout her life, saying ‘Hello’ to people and helping out as needed,” Dawson said. “She also looks forward to handing out paper slips for people to write down their answers to the game’s trivia questions and collecting the answers, as well as passing the hat when we raise money for such causes as animal shelters.”
Next to her special seat under the press box, Thompson sells kitchen towels she crochets, to benefit the team. Once during each season she anxiously awaits a chance to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” using the microphone.
Of course, she wears her Everett Merchant’s jersey to each game.
Harold Pyatte and his wife, Sherry, drive to away games with Thompson and Dawson.
“I just love her,” Sherry Pyatte said. “She is just as open as a child.”
At Merchant games, Pyatte said Thompson, who is known to regular fans, runs around the stadium.”
“You can’t resist her for long,” Pyatte said. “Harold loves her and I do, too.”
The feelings are mutual.
“Harold gave me the shirt,” Carol Thompson said. “Harold’s wife is nice to me. Harold is in the Hall of Fame. Harold is the best coach.”
And his club has the best fan.
Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451 or email@example.com.