Yard Shtick

updated 09/22/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/22/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO LET people know you care. You can send roses. You can remember them in your will. Or, if you live in Medford, Ore., you can have Marion McCallum drive her red pickup to someone's house in the middle of the night and festoon the lawn with pink flamingos.

For a mere $55, McCallum, 54, founder and sole employee of Party Animals, will tastefully arrange the plastic menagerie—it can include pigs, cows, sheep and penguins—around a placard announcing something like, "Ewe are the love of my life. Will ewe marry me?"

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, depending on how that special someone feels about waking up to find the neighbors laughing and pointing.

A medical transcriptionist by day, McCallum started the business two years ago, inspired by the fake flamingos she saw at a wedding in her native Nova Scotia. Now she delivers an average of four truckloads a week (amazingly, no one has ever complained). One shipment recently went to Callie Snyder from her husband, Bill, on their 20th anniversary. "She went outside, and it hit her like a ton of bricks," says Bill, a retired businessman. "[McCallum] certainly put a spark in my wife's heart."

The animals have taken over the three-bedroom mobile home where McCallum, who is wed to bar-owner Douglas, 63, lives. "I have penguins in the living room and flamingos in the family room," she says, but crowding is a small trade-off for spreading joy. "I get such fun out of it. My critters are critters of happiness."

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