Rich started the Mercedes SUV and turned to Peg as they pulled out of the driveway.
“This ought to be interesting,” he said softly, almost talking to himself.
Rich and Peg were both excited and a bit nervous. They were driving to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to pick up their son, Patrick, who was arriving home after a long flight from Paris.
“I wonder if we’ll even recognize him,” Peg said.
“Let’s just hope for no major surprises,” Rich responded.
Patrick had completed two years at Louisiana State University before deciding the previous summer to “take a break” from school and travel around Europe. His summer trip had stretched into the fall as he explored the continent, and he ended up staying in Paris for a few months. The Vivas weren’t really sure what Patrick was doing with his time in Paris, and they had tried more than once to convince him to return home and get back to school.
Patrick was a gifted painter; it came naturally to him. He was drawn to Europe—its history and culture. His trip was an opportunity to see classic works of art and architecture and meet like-minded artists in magnificent cities like Prague, Venice, and Paris.
The Vivas were initially supportive of Patrick’s trip. While it could be a hard ideal to practice, they had always felt their children’s best path to a happy and successful life was through pursuit of their interests and passions. Rich and Peg had agreed to fund the majority of Patrick’s trip. That ...