"Can I get a trumpet for Christmas?" Arthur asked. "If I learn to play it well enough, I might be able to get in the band."
His father threw down his napkin and glared at the boy across the table. Biting off each word, Bull said, "When we were at Princeton, my football friends and I always wondered who'd have the goddam kid who played in the band!"
Arthur didn't get the trumpet, but instead graduated from the ukelele to the guitar, which became his emblem of rebellion. In 1956, when he was 13, he dyed his hair black, swept it back and donned a black leather jacket. His friends called him Elvis, and he learned to play well enough to sing a few songs one day on a Paris radio station. All full of himself, he strutted in the front door of Claiborne House, the white-columned family manse, and saw his father sitting there reading the Daily Racing Form.
"Well, well, well," said Bull. "If it isn't the canary comin' home to roost."
"It nearly killed me when Bull would say things like that to Arthur," says Waddell. "That absolutely cut me to the quick. I loved Bull, I adored him. But they were fightin' words. I tried to control myself. I'd say, 'Please try to be a little more considerate of the boy's feelin's.' "
That was not easy. Bull's favorite saying was, "The only real happiness in life is a job well done." He expected Arthur to take as much interest in Claiborne as he did. Arthur was picking his guitar in the house one afternoon, trying to learn how to play Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou," when Bull asked if he wanted to see some of the new foals.
"Thanks, Daddy, but I want to finish this song," he said.
"You know what you remind me of?" asked Bull.
"No, sir," said Arthur.
"The goddam court jester."