Anybody remember the 1973 movie The Exorcist? Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow and Linda Blair led us through what Warner Brothers still touts as “the scariest movie ever.” I’m not ashamed to admit that it scared the bejeebers out of me. It was also the film that turned the corner for me on scary movies. “No more,” I vowed. And I’ve kept that promise to myself. Turns out I’m not all that big on being scared.

The visuals stay with me much too long.

Like forever.

Pepper had her own Exorcist moment in the pasture last week and I was right back being scared. It had to do with green slime.

Buckets of the stuff. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The day began like every other day in the pasture. I fussed over my two old sweeties and handed out treats to the Oldsters as Bud and Pepper ate their medicine-dosed grain.

Like I said, same old, same old.

Now that the horses are in fresh grass, I’ve reduced their daily grain portion. They’re just not as hungry because they can graze all the time. And once again, Miss Pepper has become obsessed with snacks. It was last year about this time that I learned I had to remove the snack containers from her line of sight, or she wouldn’t finish her grain. But she’s a smart girl and has quickly figured out exactly where I hide the snacks.

So technically I guess they aren’t really hidden.

She must have been hungry on this particular day because she blew through her grain in nothing flat. She finished before Bud, which is a rare occurrence. I was busy brushing the big guy when I noticed that Miss P. had wandered to the side of the car and was frantically sucking up hay cubes as fast as she could get them in her mouth. She was like a kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

I slipped a lead rope around her neck and pulled her away, because wolfing down cubes isn’t really such a good idea.

Cue that darned ominous music yet again.

Right away she began to choke and cough. Horses do cough, so I wasn’t terribly worried. Yet. I watched as she continued to hack and sputter. But it didn’t stop. In fact it worsened. She was clearly having trouble breathing and I had no idea what to do. I was way out of my element.

I called my husband who called our vet.

In the meantime, green slime began oozing from Pepper’s nostrils.

It just kept coming and coming and coming.

If I’d had any bejeebers left in me, they were totally gone now. Scared right out of me.

Pepper had this distressed look on her face. “What’s happening to me?” her eyes seemed to plead. Or was that my eyes? I’m fuzzy on the details since we both were quite pathetic.

Green slime continued to ooze out of Pepper and all I could think about was Linda Blair spewing her own version of green awfulness. I don’t usually come up with movie references to life’s situations, but this was a marked exception.

Green slime spewing and all.

Thank goodness Pepper wasn’t possessed by the devil. Just too many devil hay cubes snarfed down much too quickly.

Then as fast as the slime started, it stopped.

Pepper looked exhausted.

I looked exhausted.

We cleaned her face as best we could and she headed toward the shed for a nap.

We watched for a while to make sure she was all right.

She was.

And me? I’m back to reliving the visuals of green slime spewing out of people and horses. And feeling scared and helpless, which I DO NOT like.

Is that life imitating art or art imitating life?


P.S. We’ve put the hay cubes away for a while.