Carson’s Special Ornament Goes to the White House Christmas Tree

By: qwerty53

Nov 16 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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Aperture:f/6.3
Focal Length:46mm
ISO:400
Shutter:1/125 sec
Camera:NIKON D300S

Each year Katie Allen nestles into her home workspace, to bring her mind to the place where the creation of her hand-painted glass ornaments begins.

Allen also sends an ornament to the White House, and as she contemplated the theme for this year’s White House ornament weeks ago, she had in mind commemorating Auburn’s 2010 National Championship.

Then, Allen, who works as an aid at PHS, found herself at the PHS homecoming game, and as she watched the band’s halftime performance, her thoughts turned to the previous year when her daughter, Courtney, then a senior, was marching in step behind Carson Sumpter in the drum line.

“With this memory, I felt a gut-wrenching pain,” she said. “I thought, ‘How do I get beyond this, how do I go forward, God?’”

As a band mom handing out water and popsicles at many a summer band camp, she knew Carson well recalling, “it was a phenomenal experience to watch this child grow”.

“He’s mine, too. Every one of those 1700 PHS children are mine. I like to say, God graced me with two, but blessed me with many.”

Allen decided to paint the White House ornament for Carson this year. She blocked off an entire week to work on Carson’s ornament, thinking she would need that to get through the process. She went onto Carson’s facebook memorial page and left him a message.

“I asked him to be my guide, to be that angel that would hold my hand while I painted the ornament. And I finished it in an hour—never have I finished one in just an hour! When I took my hand off the completed ornament, I felt a peace come over me.”

The ornament was painted from a photo of Carson walking on the beach away from the camera with his guitar slung over his shoulder. “That was just one of his favorite places to be,” said his father Jim Sumpter.

The ornament was sent off to Washing D.C. along with a page of thoughts written by his mother, Kim McBrayer, and a copy of his CD called Patience EP.

“Carson had cancer, but cancer never had Carson,” Kim wrote.

“Carson had a unique spirit about him,” his mother said. “Just to be in his presence was healing. He had this effect on many people. The last week of his life Carson told Kevin Derryberry, “I’ve gotten to play music every day this week and that’s all I wanted to do.”

“I think the ornament is amazing,” Jim Sumpter said. “And I think Carson would smile to know that he trumped Auburn. He’d be laughing and saying ‘We got ‘em again!”

written by Laura Brookhart & Published in Pelham City News, November 2011

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