When I was a young girl my father always assisted Santa in the most delightful ways. It was one of his special things that I embraced and continued as tradition when I had my own little girl.

Every year my fiercely determined child stayed awake all night, hoping to catch Santa.  It was murder, but it was fun.

When her father and I separated, I moved to Port Townsend.  That year at Christmas-time she was to spend the holiday with her Dad and the issue of Christmas stockings came up.  He didn’t believe in Santa Claus and I wasn’t going to be there.

The family home was a small two-story converted horse barn – Living space on top, shop below.  The stockings were always hung by the window with care.  So after dark that Christmas Eve and knowing they would be at Nana’s for dinner, I went to the barn and set up a 20 foot extension ladder that just reached the window.  Then I tried to sleep on a friend’s boat and set the alarm for 3 a.m.

When the alarm went off I went back to the barn with my sack of stocking stuffers.  This was a really nice neighborhood on Bainbridge Island and as I oh so quietly climbed the ladder all I could think about was Frank Gunn, the local cop, driving down the street and seeing a second story burglar and me ending up in the hoosegow on Christmas Eve.

I made it to the top, but then I had to open those old wooden windows as quietly as I could not knowing if anyone was awake on the inside.  Sqeeeeeeak.  It was murder, but it was fun.  I heard sleeping sounds coming from the inside and so quickly filled both stockings.  But then I had to close those old windows as quietly as I could.  Sqeeeeeeak.  I got down off that ladder lickety split and drove home to Port Townsend.

Of course the best part – and I heard it from her Dad – was when they woke the next morning and found their stockings to be full.  Hers with goodies and treats, but she asked her Dad, “Why is your stocking only filled with coal?”  He had a proper belly laugh about it and told her, “I guess I’ve been a very bad boy this year.”

Previous articleTickling Keyboards at Type Townsend
Next articleDecember Story
Diana Talley has been around wooden boats since the 1970s in Sausalito. She is a shipwright by trade. She has built sailboats, fished along the Pacific Coast, and moved to Port Townsend in 1990, creating Taku Marine, a boat repair service she ran with her late partner Rick Petrykowski until the mid 2010s. Now retired, she still lives in Port Townsend.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story Diana, you are a person of many talents, who would of known besides being an amazing pie maker you are also a “Christmas stocking stuffer” Have a great Christmas and best to you in the new year!

Leave a Comment