A friend is someone who is there for you during the good times and the bad times. I am blessed to have a number of friends to help me through this difficult period (that I created). An exceptional friend is someone who makes you feel good about simply being you, regardless of your flaws and warts. I have several exceptional friends who have been able to raise my spirits and they have empowered me to feel better about myself and my future despite my current circumstances. They inspire me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
One of my exceptional friends was in Florida several weeks ago with his bride. He got together with my wife for a visit. During their time together he related a story about being with a group of cyclists having coffee on a break. He apparently was sitting with a group that included an old acquaintance of mine. This acquaintance started bad mouthing me in front of the group. My friend, in a very direct fashion, instructed my acquaintance to stop degrading me.
It is nice to know my friends have my back despite the very public nature of my flaws. However, I am concerned that my friends have to deal with situations like this. In the future, I would ask my friends to ignore any negative comments made about me. I do not want you to get in conflict with others over my foolish choices.
As to my cycling acquaintance, I understand your disappointment with me and your apparent desire to disparage me. (more than I have already disparaged myself). I do not harbor ill will towards you or anyone else who participates in such gossip. You have an absolute right to engage in free speech and my actions have given you plenty to talk about!
To my friends, I say thank you. To the folks who wish me and my family to endure further hardship and pain, I say thank you too! You are simply providing me with additional motivation to do better once I leave prison. I fully intend to establish another positive legacy before I leave this planet. It will happen.