Back in the day when I lived on my place in the country, I set up my own, personal shooting range. I had a 25 yard range in my backyard, and targets set up all the way out to about 200 yards, out by the pond. The nature of my land was that hills bordered it along the south boundary and any bullet I fired to the south, or southwest would bury itself in the ground. It is a great place for a shooter, and I miss it sometimes.
Anyway, we had a couple of cats. A house cat and a barn cat, and that was enough for me. They kept the mice and other rodents under control and didn't get in my way.
One day the boys and I were out back shooting a .22, single shot, with iron sights. I think I paid $15.00 for it at a pawn shop. We were shooting at dimes from 25 yards, and each of the boys wanted a pierced dime to wear on a chain around his neck. That was fine with me, but they had to do it themselves.
There was this other cat, a large stray tabby, that would come around sometime. This afternoon I watched that tabby creep under the barn fence. About that time my wife came out the back door to call us to supper. The tabby went into the barn and started a fight with the barn cat, which was considerably smaller than the tabby.
I heard my wife say, "I wish someone would shoot that cat." I picked up the rifle and slipped one through his ribs. He ran off toward the front of the house and piled up in the ditch out front.
I turned toward my dearly beloved wife, to see a look of utter horror over her face. She asked, "Why did you do that?"
I was instantly confused. "Darlin, I just heard you say that someone should shoot that cat." I turned to look at my sons, their heads bobbing in unison. "Yeah, Momma, that's what you said."
She turned in a huff. "Well, you never paid any attention to what I said before. Go bury that cat before you come to supper."
She didn't talk much that night, and it was a couple of days before we had a civil conversation.
The power of the spoken word is sometimes more than we are ready for.