almost famous

Yesterday I was at the Grub Shack quietly enjoying a cup of Eva’s homemade chocolate ice cream when a stranger with a Jamaican accent arrived.

“I saw the Ford Explorer parked here. And you’re eating ice cream,” he declared. “Dan Dailey, right? And that’s Otto in the car?”

Oh my god, I thought. This guy knows more about me than my mother would if she were still alive.

(She never could figure out what I did for a living. Her last advice to me before she died was. “Why don’t you just get a job?”)

“I’m David Sutherland from Florida,” he explained. “I read your blog.”

“David!” I exclaimed as I jumped up and pumped his hand. “It’s so good to meet you!” I said with all sincerity. This was the first time one of my Diary visitors had come looking for me. A milestone, so to speak.

We spoke for a few minutes and promised to visit another time. He didn’t ask for my autograph, but his recognition did make me feel a little like a celebrity for a just a moment.

After David comes up to Estrella Vista for a visit, I’ll let you know if the place is anything like he imagined.


Today at 10:00 am is David Champ’s formal arraignment in juvenile court. I’m on pins and needles right now awaiting word of what will transpire behind the court’s closed doors.

Last night young David’s grandfather called to tell me that David believes he will be returning home after today’s hearing. “Do you think there’s any chance of that happening?” he asked hopefully.

“No way,” I told him.

The boy doesn’t understand the magnitude of what’s happening to him. I just hope poor David will not be too distressed when he learns he will be returning to the detention center this afternoon.

He will have to begin growing up very fast right about now.


According to a news report by one of the local TV stations, 11-year-old David was brought to the Family Court in sweats and shackles, surrounded by his family, mother, and lawyers. The hearing was postponed to September 15th and the court was petitioned to order a “screening for residential placement,” which was granted. This is all the public was told.

Let me translate.

The arraignment hearing was postponed so the prosecutor can delay a decision on what formal charge, if any, will be filed. The prosecutor wants to know the child’s state of mind and development before making a decision about an appropriate formal charge. Hence the “screening” which is really a psychological evaluation.

This is all good. The Missouri prosecutor is taking a good look before taking the leap. Everyone appears to be sincerely concerned about the boy’s welfare. They seem to be getting it right.

If only such a responsible approach had been taken in Pennsylvania!

1 Response to “almost famous”

  1. 1 Mike
    August 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Please keep us updated on David Champ.

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