lcl-thanksgiving_web.jpgThanksgiving is here, a day for turkey and stuffing, candied yams, collard greens and black-eyed peas and Grandma’s no-feast-is-complete-without-it mac and cheese.

Topping off already bursting bellies, dessert: red velvet cake, along with pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan pies.

Among all the plenty, there is cause to give thanks for simple things often missed in day-to-day toil.

This is what some folks around Liberty City think about Thanksgiving this year: “I thank God for being alive.” said retiree Earnest Woodard, 65, sitting in Broadway Park with Rhyhem, 11, one of his seven children, while his wife attended a church meeting. “I am thankful for playing a game of checkers from time to time.”  

Victor Torres, 44, whose family has owned Family Meat, a small grocery at 6101 NW 17th Ave., for 30 years, had a simple and equally profound comment: “I give thanks for one more day of life we have to live.”

Two younger workers are, well, more earthly in their views: “I am thankful for not having a wife, so I can be free,” said butcher Andre Edwards, 24.

Added 16-year-old Raul Olivero, a part-time butcher and student at William H. Turner Technical Arts High School, who started helping around the store at age 11:  “I am thankful for my job, I'm thankful for my girlfriend…I'm thankful for my phone, it's my life.”

Muntaquim Muhammad is among those who believe Thanksgiving is a year-round affair.

“I am thankful for everything. I don’t wait for any specific holiday,” said Muhammad, who sells incense he makes himself from a stand on Northwest 17th Avenue. “I think people shouldn’t wait for a holiday to be thankful for something.” 

Giovanna Maselli may be contacted at

Photo courtesy of Liberty City Link. Quality time: Earnest Woodard, 65, plays checkers in Broadway Park with son Rhyhem, 11.