Photographs Contributed by Nancy Ackerman
Patsy Inglet didn’t dance in the original production of 5-6-7-8!, but she was an important part of it nevertheless. Patsy had just started dance classes with me (in the old Library Annex) at the urging of her friend, Norma Ackert, but shortly after she began, her husband, Tom, was given an assignment to Tokyo. I was dismayed to lose a potential dancer for a production I was hoping to put together…that eventually became 5-6-7-8! But as it turned out, Patsy and Tom returned to Dhahran in early fall of 1985, in time for her to understudy, along with Marissa Burgoyne, and to be Norma’s dresser during the show. From then on, Patsy was a show ‘regular’ who didn’t miss another production.
One of the terrific things about 5-6-7-8! was that every cast member made important and unique contributions to the show, and every single person was vital to the impressive final product. Although Patsy had never danced before, and in her own words “I didn’t consider myself to have any real talent worthy of public expression”, those who watched her perform would find this hard to believe, for she turned out to have an abundance of natural talent and energy, and her broad beaming smile and obvious enjoyment of the moment were her onstage trademarks.
Patsy and I worked together in Loss Prevention for many years, and I had a chance to see her left-brain dominance in action. Her work ethics and attention to accuracy, detail and excellence during office hours fortunately carried over to the rehearsal venue, and her copious notes on the choreography and sharp memory made her our data bank of answers to ‘how many counts until stage right enters”? or “was that arm forward or to the side”? and other pesky details that seemed to take on individual interpretations (not always in sync with mine)! Many times I had to sheepishly ask Patsy questions myself as with all the numbers and steps running wild in my head, I would sometimes go blank if muscle memory failed me. I knew I could count on Patsy to have the right steps written down.
Claiming to find her experience in the show one that “I wouldn’t trade it for anything” she also appreciated the opportunity to mix with people of all different types in a cooperative effort. Some of the ‘life lessons’ she experienced in rehearsals and performances “have been very helpful in everything else I have been involved with since”. Good praise indeed when you see what she has been up to since ‘retirement’ from Aramco.
Patsy’s skills as a Panorama editor in Loss Prevention have come in handy as she now edits the two publications for Concept Therapy, the organization that she and Tom support and whose positive life tenets they teach in San Antonio and Houston. They enthusiastically share the premises of C-T with an ever-growing roster of students and spend many personal hours taking classes, studying, and traveling around the USA for lectures and teaching symposiums.
A life long attraction to all things furry, fuzzy, scaly and feathery led her to the San Antonio Zoo, resulting in a weekly stint at Docent duty, secretary on the Docent Board, and member of the Education Animal Committee. These folks have the privilege of getting new animals ready for general use (by the Docents), which sometimes involves incidents that are occasionally messy and even painful (think bird poop and the occasional nip). She is also re-writing the entire Volunteer Training Manual for the zoo, which includes a detail page of EACH animal in the zoo collection, currently running about 750. She adds that a favorite weekly ‘chore’ is walking the llamas every Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m.
Early rising and lots of walking take Patsy and Tom out of doors on long treks for birding, and they love that it encourages them to travel to places they might never otherwise go. “Would we have made an 11-mile hike into the upper reaches of Big Bend if we weren’t trying to see a little tweeter called the Colima Warbler who can only be seen there (in the USA anyway)?”
Their San Antonio residence is often a gathering place for the many ex-Aramcons that live in the area, and the years of living in Saudi Arabia and Japan are reflected in the artifacts and textiles that adorn their lovely home in the Hill Country. When Patsy invited me to decorate (which to some degree was just telling Tom where to pound a nail) we had carpets, water pipes and woven hangings to spare… so decided to transform one spacious, sunlit bathroom into an exotic oasis. It’s one of my favorite rooms and we joke that a visa is needed to enter. Their collections from Arabia and Asia blend beautifully, and the stylish result is warm, colorful and unique. Much, I assume, like the homes of many former Aramcons who prowled the souks and traveled widely.
Reflecting on being part of 5-6-7-8! in Dhahran led Patsy to comment, “I learned a lot about myself, dance, the meaning of friendship, and ‘show business.’ Just having the kick line picture on my wall is fun. And dancing for the Marines. And wearing sequins and feathers. And playing Las Vegas. The list goes on.
I know she has the friendship part right.