Broad-band cable was brought up the mountain, snaking underground beneath wooden telephone poles. Dot-com fever was coming to Bears River. The Mayor held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with a giant banner that read "Bears River Meets the Information Highway". The High School band played beneath a floating rainbow of balloons as the Black Bear
capered. zDepth, the new start-up, donated
two fully-loaded computers to the middle school principal. Parents in the crowd whispered behind their hands about the dangers of chat rooms and multiplayer games. Business leaders traded hot technology stock tips. Kids were overjoyed. Finally, something cool had come to their town.
The newspaper now displayed help wanted ads for "Mail Boy", "Office Manager," and, to the local readers' bafflement, "Game Testers." Rebecca yearned for the Office Manager position. It was the perfect job for her. She'd completed her certificate just a few months earlier, then worried all summer over how to find work within the limited business community in town. A daily commute to the
valley would be miserable. Local opportunities included a handful of medical and dental offices, the token branch of a large insurance company, and a call center. Or she could volunteer, for very little pay, to run the dusty office of the town's oldest law practice, her deceased father's aged friends, the brothers Earl and Grant Wylie.
The three local schools, Bears River Union Elementary, Bears River Middle School and Bears River High School, total student population 2,015, had occasional openings, but the church-goers who ran the public schools hired other church-goers. Rebecca and Dorothy never attended church, and if you had asked Nate what the family religion was, he would answer "Why do you ask?" halting any further interrogations.