Most people never notice the green monster at City Hall. But he's there, tucked behind the dais in front of City Councilman Darryl Glenn.
Meet Wally, the non-elected, non-voting 10th member of City Council.
"Wally enjoys it," Glenn said of his bobble-headed moppet friend's time at Council meetings. "He really enjoys the citizens' comments period. Wally pays attention."
According to Glenn, 39, the direction Wally faces -- toward the citizens or facing him -- determines whether the Boston Red Sox baseball team will win or lose on a given night.
"We're a Red Sox family," Glenn said of himself, his two teenage children and his wife and law firm partner Erin. "It's part of our marriage vows."
The sports bar
Before meeting Erin, Glenn's favorite baseball team was the New York Yankees. His wife, who is the daughter of 1960s Red Sox pitcher Billy MacLeod, gave him an option: Lose the Yankees or lose her.
"We converted our living room into a sports bar," he said of the room where he and his family watch every Red Sox game. "There's a tradition in our household. When you need a rally, you pick up your Wally and stand in a certain place in relation to the TV and good things will happen."
Wally isn't a Glenn family creation. In Boston's Fenway Park, thousands of Sox fanatics clutch similar stuffed monsters and turn them in lucky directions. Wally the Green Monster, the team's official mascot, was named in honor of Fenway Park's fabled 37-foot-high 'Green Monster' wall.
Glenn, who grew up in Colorado Springs and graduated from the Air Force Academy, joined Council in June of 2003 after Councilman Charles Wingate resigned amid accusations that he stole city equipment and misused a city credit card. Known for his sports neckties (he also loves the Pittsburgh Steelers) and a quiet demeanor at Council meetings, Glenn won re-election unopposed in last April's election. He said he's most passionate about issues involving children.
Glenn started bringing Wally to Council chambers last year just before the Red Sox became hot on the road to a World Series championship. Now he and Wally are practically inseparable.
"He doesn't go anywhere without [Wally]," Councilman Richard Skorman said.
The ransom note
Fellow Council members have gotten used to Glenn's green friend joining them, but it hasn't always been easy.
"Everybody gave me a hard time, especially [Councilman Jerry] Heimlicher," Glenn said. "Heimlicher likes to steal Wally. In fact, there was once a ransom note left for me. Jerry never acknowledged taking Wally. But now I have the security guards keeping an eye on Wally."
Heimlicher, whom Glenn referred to as "the jolly old man," could not be reached for comment as to whether he was the culpable party in the kidnapping.
As for Wally helping the councilman decide important city zoning and code issues, Glenn maintains that his green buddy does not influence him -- for now.
"Wally's just feeling his way through the trenches," he said. "He might be more vocal in the future."
-- Dan Wilcock
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