By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
At the end of a long week, most of the working class can be found surreptitiously eyeing their phones or watches, counting down the minutes until they can punch the clock and escape from their jobs for the weekend. Like the song says, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere – time to grab a drink and schmooze with friends and coworkers, vent about the boss, talk shop, exchange a little gossip – in general, shoot the breeze and decompress after the daily grind.
South Padre Island had its own all-female version of this tradition many years ago, dubbed the 5:01 Club. This past Thursday, that event was reincarnated by Liz Money and Diane Denson, owners of the retail business Ship Shape on SPI. More than 70 women gathered on the Ship Shape patio at 5:01 p.m. to enjoy a little snack and a cocktail, listen to some music, play some games, and do what people rarely do any more: enjoy some genuine conversation, human to human, not via text, tweet, snapchat or e-mail.
The 5:01 Club began back in 1992, according to long-time area realtor Lisa Harbin. She reminisced about how it originally started. “It wasn’t a club or a plan. It was just a small group of friends getting together to unwind. My friend Maria Hall would call after a particularly rough week and we’d say to each other, ‘We need some relaxation – what time can you be there?’ ‘5:01!’ It grew by word-of-mouth. Folks would hear about it and say ‘I wanna come, too!’ It was just a great way to meet new people and see old friends,” she recalled. Back then, the ladies would gather at a different bar or restaurant once a month, usually on Fridays.
Liz and Diane from Ship Shape decided to put their own personal twist on the event, hosting it at their shop and kicking it up a notch by adding entertainment, games and raffle items. “We were a part of this about 10 years ago so we thought we’d start it again,” Diane explained. “It’s a way to see people we haven’t seen in a long time. We see them as customers, but it’s nice to get together in a social setting.” Diane’s partner, Liz, served as emcee, working the crowd and encouraging everyone to enjoy the complimentary food and beverages provided by Ben’s Liquor and Karla’s Katering. “Please drink everything so we don’t have to give it back!” she joked.
Women of all ages and occupations nibbled and sipped, played some old-school games like the bean bag toss, listened to music by local singers Leslie Blasing and Danica, and mingled with both old friends and new acquaintances. Lori Wells, UT-RGV professor and owner of Beach Bikes on Padre, spoke about why she participated. “I came because it’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends.” Penny Gautreau, of the Lighthouse Lighting Center in Port Isabel, enjoyed the festivities, saying, “I live on the Island, I love the Island and I think it’s great for all these women to get together like this. I want it to keep going.” Some women were there strictly to socialize, while others took the opportunity to combine a little business with pleasure, exchanging contact information and promoting their businesses and services.
To conclude the event, a box was passed around for all the guests to put their business cards into, and prizes were given to the owners of the cards drawn, ranging from gift certificates from Ship Shape to tickets to the Sand Castlers Ball.The event was free, but donations were encouraged to offset the next month’s 5:01 Club meeting. For those interested in joining this varied group, the next 5:01 Club will be held at the Palm’s Resort and Café on South Padre Island on Oct. 22.
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