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You may see things differently, but this is how I view my life.


Wedding At Satan’s Mansion

When I was in High School, one of the things we did when we were bored and couldn’t find anything else to do, was go to scary places. Places with stories that have been passed on for years. Places where people were rumored to have died, or have been sacrificed by a Satanic cult. I never imagined in a million years that I would be going to a wedding at one of these places.

The Burrage Mansion was one of the places we frequented. The Mansion sits on 17 acres and when we would turn up the street, there is a brick wall that surrounded the property that would take up ½ of the block along with tress and bushes so overgrown that you couldn't get a good look of the Mansion from the street. The Mansion has a very long lighted stairway that starts at the street and goes up to the house. The steps are very hard to run up because they are only about 4” tall. You go up about 10 steps then run about 10 feet then go up another 10 steps.

The rumor was that the house was run by a satanic cult and that they sacrificed small animals on the property. There was allegedly a basement where they did their satanic rituals and it was guarded by men wearing black cloaks. We would arrive in at least 5 car loads of people. The bravest made it to the top and rang the doorbell and ran! I only ever made it half way up then chickened out.

This was a regular thing we did, so you can only imagine what I was thinking as Jerry turned on the very same street on Saturday, to go to my friend Deana’s wedding. As soon as we turned on the street I said, “Hey, this is the street Satan’s Mansion is on. Please tell me the wedding is NOT there." Then we see the brick wall. I point the house, then the steps that we would run up to Jerry and say “That’s it! That’s Satan’s Mansion”. Then we saw someone sitting at the gate to the driveway of the house and realize, this is where the wedding is. I’m laughing at this point and can’t wait to tell Deana my story. We ask the guy if this is where the wedding is at and he tells us to go up the driveway and find a place to park.

We drive up the very long driveway, park and walk to the front of the Mansion. The seating was on either side of the steps, with the arch at the top of the stairway. I’m still laughing to myself at this point, thinking how funny this all is. The house and scenery was just beautiful. I never got to see it this close up before. The house was built in 1901, Constructed as a full-scale copy of a Spanish Mission and a reminder to many of the Santa Barbara Mission.

The ceremony was beautiful and quick! (I love wedding ceremonies, bring on the reception!) And the bride looked stunning wearing a strapless off white dress. (This was her 2nd marriage). After the ceremony, we were told to go to the back of the house for the reception. It was gorgeous! We found a table close to the cake and the dance floor. After we were seated, a few of my friends joined us and we quickly found the bar and had a few cocktails until things got going.

Champaign was served, speeches were made, we finally got excused to get our dinner. After dinner, the moment I was waiting for finally arrived. The bride was going to toss her bouquet to all the available blachelorette’s. I made sure to get right up front, and told the little girls that got in front of me that if they didn’t want to get trampled on, it would probably be best if they moved. So they got out of my way. I could tell that the bride had to throw shallow to avoid hitting the beam that was about 4 feet above her. Rosa stood next to me, and even though she is one of my best friends, I wasn’t about to let her have it. So Deana threw the bouquet and I grabbed for it, caught it and landed on my right knee.

The wedding coordinator grabbed me and took me aside and said that they are going to play a trick on the guy that gets the garter, as long as one of the little kids doesn’t get it. So all the eligible bachelors lined up (including Jerry) to watch the groom take the garter off the bride. Then the groom threw the garter into the crowd of eligible bachelors. Rosa’s boyfriend Christian caught the garter. Then we explained to him that it was tradition for whoever caught the garter, that he would have to put it on the girl who caught the bouquet. And the higher up the leg the garter went, the longer the newlyweds would be married. So I asked the groom “Erik, how old are you”? He said “Thirty-eight”. I told Christian, “I’d say he’s got at least another 40 good years behind him.” The wedding coordinator told Christian that he has to do it blindfolded.

Then it was time for him to put the garter on me, but I snuck away and the groom pulled up his pant leg and Christian put the garter up to his knee. We were all laughing hysterically and we knew that Christian would figure it out right away since my legs aren’t THAT hairy. Ok, they aren’t hairy at all. I talked with Christian afterwards and he said he was thinking “Holy shit April, you need to shave them puppies!” Then he realized it wasn’t me!

We had a great time at the wedding. It was truly one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to. Everything went smoothly, the food was great and there was an open bar all night! I only wish it didn’t have to end so early.

Congratulations Erik & Deana!


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