Real Friends

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Real Friends

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In yesterday’s post, I told Anthony Ray Hinton’s story of being on death row for 30 years.

Throughout those 30 long years, Ray was blessed with a real friend: Lester Bailey.

Lester Bailey never missed a single visiting day at Holman Correctional Facility in 30 years. Every week, he traveled seven hours and over 400 miles just to see his innocent friend being held on death row for a few minutes.

Lester was turned away scores of times due to the prison being on lockdown, but that never deterred him from returning the next week.

Lester Bailey is the most real friend there ever was.

“I wish for everyone to have a friend like Lester,” Anthony Ray Hinton tells Oprah, “They don’t make them like that anymore though.”

The times are different, and smartphones in tandem with antisocial media have indeed made these types of real friends harder to stumble upon.

Instead, we have more “friends” who simply don’t want to get involved when we are in times of trouble. We have more “friends” that opt to watch from the stands when we are in the ring alone with a gladiator, when our lives are on the line. I learned this in my own case when I was pushed to the brink of being kicked out of school and having my life destroyed. Some “friends” opted to watch while I was nearly eaten alive, but thank God I know who they are now after coming out alive and well.

However, I have real friends that stood up for the truth, that stood by my side in times of trouble. These were my real friends.

And I’d like to think that my Lester Bailey is my friend Peter. Peter and I rode the bus together, had class together, laughed together, felt alone together, played basketball, football, and baseball together, got bullied together, and got called gay together. He was my one and only friend in high school, and this picture of us was just hours before graduation, our prison. Even though we have grown more different than alike since graduating and 1,000 miles away, he’s still my Lester, my real friend. The rest come and go for the most part, and I’m ok with that. Just one real friend will do.

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