The Untold Tale About Santa's Magical Upgrade
December 2022 — Another year and another Christmas catastrophe had Santa feeling none too jolly as he waited for HHH (HoHoHo) Towing to come and rescue his snowmobile after the second brake failure of the season. Santa surveyed his overturned Arctic Elk snowmobile and shook his head in frustration. The snow machine was a grudging sleigh replacement after Santa’s normally stellar PR shifted South Poleward with the growing popularity of the Reindeer Protection League and subsequent calls to retire his “overworked” sled team — nevermind that they had 364 days of paid leave and dental coverage!
Ultimately, St. Nick’s mittens were tied with sliding stock values and activist shareholders, so he surrendered the beloved sleigh and he wished his reindeer a blissful retirement with an open-door policy to visit whenever they wanted. Mrs. Claus, an avid RideX365 reader, had found him a suitable replacement, a snowmobile he could leap from rooftop to rooftop. Soon, Santa realized just how much he relied on All-Hoof Drive traction and holiday magic-assisted braking of the reindeer. The elf-engineered North Pole-developed brakes were not as effective and would be the end of him and Christmas itself if something didn’t improve.
The elves in R&D had assured him their latest master cylinder and caliper designs retained the 10-foot stopping span for as much cheery cargo as could be earned by good boys and girls. However, the sojourn through North America had resulted in a Rudolph-red rotor glow from below and there was an offensive burning smell so unlike chestnuts roasting. This told Santa there was trouble. Sure enough, passing through the Dairy state, his brakes locked up, and a routine touchdown became a testament to gravity’s scrooginess. Now he sat, plopped on a southern Wisconsin snowbank, cookie-less and glum as the elf dispatcher informed him of the many merry-less minutes he’d have to wait for the tow-sleigh.
But a man as wise and generous as Santa could not stay grumpy for long. Looking about him at the holiday displays and the joy of Mequon’s twinkling lights describing the happy hamlet’s architecture, his heart grew three shades redder with joy. There were so many wonderful people here in the world, and with Jack Frost as his witness, he would deliver all the gifts. It was then, as he professed that wholesome oath, that he saw a building so fine and so festive he could do naught but approach.
Crossing the street, Santa wandered into Hayes Performance Systems, his eyes glittering with delight. It would appear his were not the only elves that could design a brake, and lo, like a plate of cookies and milk, were the calipers and master cylinders of Hayes arrayed — a foreman’s foresight perhaps? Picking out a REFLX 32 Caliper (for the millennia-old fellow had not the reflexes he boasted as a young man) and a Stealth 88 Master Cylinder paired with a Pro-Float 8R Rotor (so no child would need to ask who might be up on the rooftop, so quietly would he land) Santa used his prodigious strength and tossed the Arctic Elk up on the workbench.
Quick as a wink, the brakes were changed, and St. Nick marveled. These Hayes elves were Christmas miracle-workers! With a buoyant bounce in his step, Santa took the reins . . . er, handles, and soared into the night sky, leaping Lake Michigan in a single bound. With alacrity did the sled land, and in the morning, many would wonder and thrill at the marks on their roofs. Perhaps Levi Lavallee had passed through in the night? Surely Santa was not the one drifting along the drifts of their homes’ ridgelines? None could say, but the squeals of delight from good boys and girls rose with the sun that happy Christmas morning. Santa’s return was heralded with the same glee as elves danced about, and Mrs. Claus beamed at her husband’s elation.
But there remained one surprise. Come the next day, the CEO of Hayes was agog, for draped across the facility was a banner that read, “Official Brakes of the North Pole. Warmly, St. Nicholas.”
"Santa's Sled Takes a Brake" was written by guest contributor Luther Abel, a writer in Appleton, Wisconsin.