Syd Mead, Forgotten Gravesite, Remembered Mom

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Sci-Fi Fan Remembering Mom –

I had not been to my mom’s gravesite since the day we laid her to rest in 1985. Why bother? She wasn’t even there the day we planted her body. She was with the Lord. So why would I wait almost 30 years to return?

Syd-MeadI’m a fan of science fiction. I especially enjoy the illustrations that grace the covers of sci-fi books and movie posters. My favorite illustrator of this genre is Syd Mead. Syd was the lead illustrator for such films as Blade Runner and Tron. He has also illustrated for Star Trek.

When I received an email that Syd would be presenting illustrations from his new Christmas book, I immediately RSVP’d. Syd is also the son of a Baptist pastor, so I felt that it might influence his artwork. The location would be Forest Lawn Mortuary. Having worked on two of the shows Syd Mead had illustrated (Tron and Star Trek), I was looking forward to possibly meeting him.

When I arrived at Forest Lawn, I stopped at the information booth to get directions to Mom’s gravesite, then proceeded to the top of the hill to the auditorium where Syd would be speaking. When I stepped into the large, ornate room, Syd had already begun his presentation. He showed his work on a giant screen behind him as he provided insight about its creation.

The Fantasy of Syd Mead

As he talked about the Christmas story; the birth of Christ, the wise men, etc., his remarks seemed to be somewhat irreverent. When he said that the whole notion of Christmas was a fantasy, I began to wonder. If he thought it was a fantasy as it has been commercialized today, I might agree with him. However, the Christ, the cross and everything mentioned in the Bible was a fact, not fantasy. I wasn’t sure of his definition of Christmas being a fantasy, but when combined with his previous comments, I decided I had heard enough. I walked out of the auditorium.


MomI stepped out into the sunshine, opened the map to my mother’s grave and began my search. I found the general area indicated on the map. But after searching long, I never found her headstone. So I decided to do this painting in memory of her.

It never ceases to amaze me how God will bring someone to my easel in the most uncommon situations. As I was painting, I saw a man and young girl at the top of the hill. They watched me for a while, then the girl came down to see what I was doing. We chatted for a while, then she walked up the hill.

I’m also amazed that I still miss opportunities to touch someone with God’s word. Not once did I mention Jesus’ name nor share a ‘Word’ with her. Lord forgive me.

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