Grimes’ house lights the mountain

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2011

W.M. Grimes' house on Parkview Road in Pelham casts a glow over the northern part of the city during the Christmas season. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

PELHAM – Sitting atop a mountain near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Valleydale Road in Pelham, W.M. Grimes’ love for Christmas is visible from miles away.

Growing up on Alabama 119, Grimes, who is now 81 years old, said he has always been interested in spreading the Christmas spirit around the holidays.

“Back then, nobody had anything much. When me and my wife got married, we wanted to do something big for Christmas each year,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. When we bought this house in ’85, we finally had the room to do it.”

Grimes’ house, which is at 2041 Parkview Road near Pelham’s northern city limit, is aglow each year with thousands of lights spread across his large lot.

“We started decorating the first year we were here, and it has just grown over the years,” Grimes said. “People can see it from a long way off now.”

Although Grimes said he was uncertain how many lights adorn his yard, he said he has been working on setting them up since late September. He said he often sets up most of the lights himself.

“Oh Lord, I don’t know,” Grimes said with a laugh when asked how many lights are in his display. “I set it up mostly by myself. I’ve worked all my life, and I’ve got good health, so I enjoy doing it.”

All the lights are powered from the house, meaning Grimes uses “a lot of extension cords” each year. The display is routed through several separate circuit breakers designed for the setup, which Grimes said helps keep his main circuit box from overheating.

“I’m telling you, when I break the display down, you should see the piles of extension cords I have,” Grimes said with a laugh. “The power company likes for December to come around so they can get some money from me. It usually runs up near $700 for December.”

Parkview Road circles around the Grimes’ house, and can sometimes get congested during the Christmas season. The family sometimes greets visitors who park and walk around to get a better look at the lights.

“Sometimes people will stop. One year, I think it was about six years back, a couple knocked on our door and asked if they could walk around to show their little girl the lights,” Grimes said. “The little girl was from Russia, and the family was looking to bring her here.

“You haven’t seen a little lady run around like she did when she saw those lights,” Grimes said with a laugh.

The Grimes will have the lights on from 5-11 p.m. now through Christmas.

“This is something I’ve just wanted to do all my life,” he said. “I’ve finally gotten to where I can put up a lot every year.”