Full Speed Ahead!

Due to a very bad cold, I haven’t been able to visit Clark at the hospital. We miss seeing each other very much, as you can imagine, but we’re happy to communicate by phone. Even though it’s hard for Clark to hear me on the small handset in his room, we still talk several times a day. His health aides, our family and friends report back to me daily about what’s going on, so I can still keep a close eye on everything.

With a team of dedicated doctors, God’s grace, and your encouragement, Clark is fighting his way through every health challenge that has been thrown in his path. It is truly amazing to witness his incredible courage. During the weekdays, his physical therapists have been assisting him with exercise routines in his hospital room. His leg is healing, although it’s a slower process than usual due to the complications of diabetes. In spite of a series of recent obstacles, Clark quoted Admiral David Farragut, “‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!’”

Some of his beloved students came to celebrate his 91st birthday – Justin Kauflin, Alan Hicks, Quincy Cavers, and Cameron “Cinnamon” MacManus. They brought some of their friends with them – Ryan Hicks, Adam Hart, and Rory Anderson. Justin’s seeing-eye-dog Candy was right there in the mix, too, along with Clark’s health aides, nurses, doctors, and our family. Justin (piano), Alan (drums), Cinnamon (trombone) and Quincy (saxophone) serenaded Clark with some of his original tunes and other favorites. He made sure that the tempos were right by tapping his fingers on the bed rails. It was a great time for all with a birthday cake, flowers, balloons and the music that we all love – jazz.

Clark was so happy when I read your hundreds of heartfelt prayers and loving messages that were posted on his site. Please keep them coming because he so enjoys hearing from you.

There were many wonderful activities around the world which added to the birthday smiles on his face – radio tributes; concerts dedicated to him; news articles in magazines, newspapers and blogs; original compositions created for him; and more book reviews with favorable comments about his new autobiography. Tuba player Marc Lindy organized the unofficial re-naming of a main thoroughfare in Vancouver, Canada. Alan Matheson joined Marc as friends and fellow musicians gathered around “Clark Terry Drive” which was complete with a flugel horn on the sign! (Special thanks to W.D. Worden for use of his photo)

When I asked Clark how he felt about all of the birthday accolades and prayers, he said, “Blessed. I feel very, very blessed. I appreciate all of those beautiful vibes, and I love everybody. Every one of them.

“I’m thanking Big Prez for letting me see another birthday and Christmas. I’m praying hard and doing everything I can do to be able to celebrate the New Year.”

We hope that this holiday season continues to be filled with love and peace for everyone. It is our prayer that you are enjoying these special days with your family and friends, and that you are feeling our spirit with you as you gather together. We can certainly feel your presence with all of the love that you’re sending our way. Thank you so much!

Blessings and Happy New Year,

| general | 13 Comments

13 Responses to Full Speed Ahead!

  1. jean germain says:

    dear clark i pray that you had a very wonderful birthday with allthe thousands of your special well wishers….we all pray for your recovery…you are a remarkable human being……best to your lovely wife….
    jean germain
    jazz from row six… honor to have met you playing in the jazz club of sarasota and photographed you in my book….i will never forget you

  2. jean germain says:

    to one of the most remarkable musicians and human being…dear clark….a very belated happy birthday…i was very upset to hear about you health difficulties and pray that you recover and are spared the suffering……remember me…i photographed you and your gang… joe wilder.sweets edison.snooky your reunion in 1996 at the jazz club of sarasota. and my book jazz from row six…honoring your remarable contribution to keeping jazz alive…..i was very honored and a great privilege to be the photographer who captured this historical reunion…..last year you mentioned that you may send to me your autobiography

  3. Tiffreau France says:

    Dear Gwen and Clark
    From France, I do wish you a very nice 2012 year.
    Hopefully, will this year bring Clark health improvement.
    Very sincerely yours

  4. Dear Clark,
    Wishing you the best of health, joy and blessings for 2012!

    Alan and Riina

  5. Valerie Takacs says:

    I wish you both a very Happy, Healthy New Year!!

  6. Valerie Bishop says:

    just thinking of you guys and want to wish you MUCH IMPROVED HEALTH in 2012!! had to put some big emphasis on that wish!! happiness for you two is a given!!

    big hugs and continued prayers to “the couple of the year”!!

  7. Justin Vargo says:

    With the passing of so many greats this year like Paul Motian, Sam Rivers, Walter Norris, Bob Brookmeyer and others, it’s great to know that there are still masters like Mr. Terry and many others out there. Having heard at least one of Mr. Terry’s young students, Justin Kauflin, I know that Mr. Terry’s influence will endure for a long time. Keep on keepin’ on in 2012!

  8. Fabian Acuna says:

    Dear Clark and Gwen,

    First, Happy Birthday again to you Clark Terry! I hope you had a wonderful day and from the sounds of it you certainly did! I hope you (and you too Gwen) make a speedy recovery. It must be hard sometimes so I’m praying and wishing for all the best.

    God Bless,
    Fabian Acuna

  9. adriene says:

    rehab is no joke, stay strong and positive it will get better best wishes to you and the family HAPPY HOLIDAYS

  10. Michael ("Migueligans") Miller says:

    Dear Clark and Gwen,

    Josh, Noah and I really enjoyed talking with you both on Christmas. Your positive joy and love, Gwen, and your never-ending wit and wisdom, Clark, were the best gifts we could ever have hoped for.

    Here’s wishing you both many more merry days ahead…we can’t wait to see you again soon!

    Love times a million,

    Michael, Noah and Josh

  11. Pauline Stark says:

    Gwen, I have been so touched reading your wonderful report on Mr. Clark Terry. His spirit and yours is so beautiful…..thank you for sharing. I am praying very hard that he gets gets back – although it sounds like his he was swingin’ on his birthday.
    Best Regards,
    Pauline Stark/St. Louis, Missouri

  12. Valerie Bishop says:

    so good to hear from you, Gwen, and hope that your cold heals quickly. but i’m sure you need rest, rest, rest!! thank you, as always, for keeping us in touch with your beloved husband. as you well know, he’s a National Treasure and we rely on you for so much. but we also want you to take care of yourself!! sending love and prayers, as always, to both of you and your loved ones. Happy, Healthy 2012!

  13. There are blessings that come our way although not invited and I feel that I have recieved a bunch from just being in the presence of Clark and Gwen and son several years ago. How could I have known this meeting would impact me so completely. I treasure Clarks ability completely. His scat is so natural and I would try to immulate his sound knowing that this would be impossible but knowing that I had to try. He is so natural and I try, knowing that I don’t have the depth of his soul. He has given and it is ok to accept that gift. I treasure that gift and will always love him for his generousity. I am not a trumpet player, but I accept his fabulous configurations in jazz. The man is a “Monster”. I love his ability and talent. Joy is in knowing that you have made someone or others feel an uplifting of spirit and that the uplifting will consequently help others to fly. Please take my hand. Shirley