Please Get Well, Aretha Franklin Bob Herbert has a suggestion for a holiday toast By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Dec 25, 2010 10:11 AM CST 2 comments Comments A 2008 file photo of Aretha Franklin. (AP Photo/Shea Walsh, file) (Newser) – Bob Herbert sends up a Christmas wish this morning for Aretha Franklin, who's reportedly ill with pancreatic cancer. He recalls first hearing her voice—"the most gifted of an era"—on her seminal I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You album, which provided solace in the tumultuous year of 1967. "Aretha has had a lifetime of musical success, but it’s difficult to overstate both the greatness and the stunning impact of that one album," writes Herbert in the New York Times. Listening to it "would carry you beyond the ordinary." Throughout her career, Aretha's had "rough relationships with men, chronic weight problems and bouts of despondency," he writes. "But always there was the music, the splendor and artistry and grace of Aretha when she was at her best, which was often." When it comes time for holiday toasts or prayers today, one directed her way "would be terrific."