A Kanuk, Alaska story;
By Voni Harris;
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Short Story Tuesday is back! Yay!! We had a great vacation, but like all vacations, it’s a joy to return. I was going to move on from the fictional Kanuk, Alaska, but the relationship between Tundrah and her father, Ed, was still speaking to me. They were left with many questions at the end of "Arctic Tundrah."

The sermon hadn’t been geared toward him at all. Not one iota. But that fact didn’t change the feeling inside Ed, the feeling propelling him out of his seat as the pastor called for a time of prayer at the altar.

He knew what the feeling was…conviction. Plain, old-fashioned conviction.

He knew his life was about to be turned upside down as he scooted past Karen into the aisle. She always sat in the aisle seat so she could see to read lips throughout the service. He and Tundrah, their daughter, filled in anything she missed with sign language.

He stopped and turned back to his family, looking into Karen’s eyes and brushing the fingertips of his right hand across the open palm of his left hand.

Sign language for “forgive.”

How could he ask her to forgive him? But he needed her.

Karen froze in place, and the look of confusion on Tundrah’s young face broke his heart.

Suddenly, Marlene began making her way forward to the altar, from the other side of the church. That’s when Karen’s head bowed and her tears began to fall.

But he needed her. He held his hand out to her.

He needed her.

His life depended on her. Not Marlene.

What had he been thinking?.

Karen slowly raised her head up and looked into his eyes. She patted Tundrah’s leg, motioning for her to stay there. Then she took his hand and joined him as they walked up the aisle.

Pastor met them at the front, having spoken briefly with Marlene. “Bob’s praying with her,” he whispered, careful to face Karen so she could read his lips. “Let’s pray, then we’ll talk in my office.”


Tundrah sat in the pew as Mama had instructed, wondering why Papa had signed “forgive” to Mama, and why Mama was crying. Goodness, even Miss Marlene went up for prayer today and she was crying, too.

Tundrah looked from Mama over to Miss Marlene, then back to Papa.

She suddenly felt cold inside. She remembered seeing someone kissing Miss Marlene behind the Kanuk Ice Park. He had looked like Papa, kinda, but she only saw his back, and it certainly couldn’t have been Papa. Not her Christian Papa!

She remembered how he had come to pick her up from the 6th grade girls’ ice skating party just a minute or two later.

She looked at Miss Marlene, praying with Mr. Bob, and back at Papa and Mama, not wanting to believe it. 

But her heart knew the truth, now. Her Papa had cheated on her Mama. Christian, hah!

She ran from the church.


Ed heard rustling and looked up to see Tundrah run from the church. He started to go after her, but Pastor stopped him. “My wife will go find Tundrah. You’ve got something more important to do at the moment.”

Cindy, the girls’ Sunday School teacher, was already following Tundrah outside.

Ed shook his head to refocus. Pastor was right.

He may have lost Tundrah. He’d have to deal with those consequences.

But he had to rescue his marriage right now, or the whole family would be lost.

Click here to read Ed and Karen’s story in
“No Romance.” and tune in tomorrow for Word Nerd Wednesday!

Karen also appears in the story of Noah and Yahtzee, "Yahtzee."