Just before the 19th Century dropped out of favor, and folks got all high and mighty about everything in the shiny new 20th Century, things changed. Speaking your mind caught on, even out west. But it never worked for Angus. Everyone wanted him to speak his mind—at home around the dinner table, in school from the back row, and worse yet at church in the dad blamed confessional booth. He thought it passable around a campfire when the whiskey jugs came out. But still, to his way of thinking, speaking your mind was a privilege; not to be squandered.

Angus only spoke his mind to his horse. Tucson listened patiently and then went about his business as if nothing had been said. But when Angus spoke his mind to friends, they shied away. If he spoke it to a stranger, he’d likely get a queer look back. If he offered his philosophical views to a man of the cloth, or a woman of the evening, well, it was not usually good. Seems like a man who preferred the company of a horse was just too strange to accommodate.

Truth was Angus could not speak his mind about what he wanted out of life, because for a long time, he didn’t know his own mind, much less anyone else’s. He avoided towns, people, notions about polite society, or feelings about the Lord Almighty (he doubted the almighty part). They either pitied him or tried to convert him. He didn’t favor either so he just mounted up and rode out when someone poked around in his mind. That left what is known today as small talk. Talk that does not offend, inform, address, question, or make a difference of any kind. Angus liked that even less than speaking his mind. We need more men like Angus these days and fewer like Rush Limbaugh or Ed Schulz. Coloring a windbag red or blue doesn’t mean it’s not still full of hot air.