Feature Contributors

Column: Will Shelbyville's new apartments be sold as vacation timeshares?

Dear readers,

My stack of unopened mail gets bigger every week. I can’t print all your letters, but if you mention “The Helbing” it does increase your chances.

Let’s get started. Today’s letter isn’t going to open itself.

Dear Kris,

The Helbing was glistening in the sun as my wife and I exited the Blue Agave Mexican restaurant last week. As I looked at the sculpture, I suddenly perceived the essential meaning held within the twisted stainless steel. In that moment, I gained an appreciation for that magnificent sculpture. I finally saw the clouds and rain appear within the twisted metal.    

I tried to get my wife to see it too. After a few minutes standing there in the parking lot, she said, “OK, I see it.”

I could tell that she really didn’t see it yet. It reminded me of those three dimensional pictures that were included in the funny papers years ago.  After staring at the page, it was unbelievable how the picture really looked three dimensional. Unfortunately, just like George Costanza, my wife could never see those either.    



I wanted to help her see the clouds and rain in the sculpture. I tried pointing to parts of the sculpture, but she just got mad. She finally admitted that she hadn’t seen it. She said she had claimed to have seen it just to shut me up, so that we could go home. Finally, she took the keys and insisted on driving. She claimed that I was imagining the clouds and rain in the sculpture because I had drunk too many margaritas. 

I tried to explain to her that Mike Helbing sculpted wind, rain, and water into stainless steel. The official name of the artwork is “Blue River-Wind, Rain, and Water.”

She said that just means Mike Helbing drank too many margaritas too. 

On the ride home, I decided it was time to change the subject. I commented on the progress made on the apartments being built behind the old Porter Pool. My wife suggested that maybe I should investigate putting down a deposit on one with a view of The Helbing.

She said maybe I would be happier living where I could gaze out at all the imaginary things in The Helbing whenever I wanted.

Kris, since you are the resident expert on all things Helbing, I have some questions.  Do you know how much rent will be charged for the apartments with a view of The Helbing?  I’m sure they will cost more than the apartments with only a view of the Cork Liquors store.

Please withhold my name. As my wife put it, “Everyone who spotted you gazing at The Helbing already thinks you’re an idiot. Don’t write a letter to Meltzer’s column and remove all doubt.” 

Dear name withheld by request,

What you experienced was a Helbing epiphany. Congratulations!

Many who began hating The Helbing see it one day in a different light and come to appreciate its artistic value. So, there is still hope for your wife. Here are a few fun facts about The Helbing.

  1. The Helbing weighs as much as 2,917 Schwinn Stingray bicycles.
  2. If the twisted stainless steel of The Helbing were straightened out, it would span the distance from my boyhood home to Morrison Park and back again.
  3. In his youth, artist Mike Helbing, creator of The Helbing, was once suspended from St. Joe for three days by Sister Angeleta. The suspension was a punishment for knowing the correct answer. 

I happened to see Mayor Scott Furgeson at a recent charity event, so I asked him about the cost of renting one of the new apartments. Mayor Furgeson said, “Kris, I haven’t been told yet, but I would think apartments with a view of The Helbing would be twice as expensive.” 

I’m even more optimistic than the mayor. With the increased popularity of our famous sculpture, I don’t think the builder will rent the units with a view as apartments.

I think if you want to wake up with a view of The Helbing you will have to invest in a timeshare!

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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