Roses are red; porches are, too

Selbyville house is a Valentine’s labor of love

Date Published: 
Feb. 9, 2018

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Laura ‘Lollipop’ Grimes and Bill Grimes pose in front of their porch in Selbyville.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Valentine’s Day is literally around the corner, up the steps and on the porch of Laura Grimes’ house in Selbyville.

Stepping into her yard is like walking into a Valentine’s Day explosion: pink lights, silk flowers, red ribbons, pearls, garland, stuffed animals and hearts galore.

“I’ve found my niche in life,” she observed with a laugh, having decorated her Church Street porch for the past several holidays.

Being diagnosed with cancer three years ago was a “wakeup call” for Grimes, she said. She’s better now, but she and her husband, Bill, decided to travel the world while they still can.

They’ve seen the aurora borealis in Iceland, breathtaking vistas in Niagara Falls, wildlife in South Africa and glitzy thrills in Las Vegas.

Perhaps most inspirational was New Orleans, joyful even outside of Mardi Gras season. Grimes said she was inspired by the impromptu jazz parades that spilled from restaurants into the street, as well as the incredible decorations and costumes. When their son was married, his East Coast wedding was Mardi Gras-themed, and then, on the honeymoon, his wife wore her white gown into the New Orleans revelry.

Back in Selbyville, Grimes incorporated her daughter-in-law’s now street-worn wedding dress into a “corpse bride” Halloween decoration on her porch.

The thrill of decorating blossomed as Grimes added more each season. She turned toy gorillas into werewolves. Too heavy to move, a tall nutcracker is alternately dressed as the Easter bunny or summertime pirate. Daintily dressed in red and ribbons this month, a plaster piglet usually wears a coconut bra in summer.

“People are starting to come by and see the pig now,” said Grimes, who got the statuette from a neighbor.

Grimes loves thrift-shopping for fun used pieces for the entire house. Her original Mardi Gras theme carries into the living room, where it’s married with lush jungle décor, for an ornate, but cozy sitting area.

Laura and Bill Grimes are both from Howard County, Md., where she grew up with little parades being held along her childhood street on a regular basis. But settling in Bishopville, Md., they had few immediate neighbors or trick-or-treaters and, therefore, no impetus to decorate the house.

But after downsizing to Selbyville about six years ago, “Now we have a sweet little house” along the parade route. Local children love taking photos by their house, especially at Halloween and Christmas, she said.

“At Halloween, I probably had a couple hundred kids. … I don’t mind if they want to come over and get pictures on the porch,” Grimes said.

Grimes is already a familiar face around town as Lollipop the Clown.

“I’m a children’s entertainer, and the kids are always asking where I live,” Grimes said. “Now I tell ’em, ‘That’s Lollipop’s house.’”