Into the Wild

describe billies dad

Chapter 10 and 13

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“Billies dad didn’t quite fit into society,” Walt explains. “In many ways he and Chris were a lot alike.” Loren Johnson was proud and stubborn and dreamy, a woodsman, a selftaught musician, a writer of poetry. Around Iron Mountain his rapport with the creatures of the forest was legendary. “He was always raising wildlife,” says Billie. “He’d find some animal in a trap, take it home, amputate the injured limb, heal it, and then let it go again. Once my dad hit a mother deer with his truck, making an orphan of its fawn. He was crushed. But he brought the baby deer home and raised it inside the house, behind the woodstove, just like it was one of his kids.” To support his family, Loren tried a series of entrepreneurial ventures, none of them very successful. He raised chickens for a while, then mink and chinchillas. He opened a stable and sold horse rides to tourists. Much of the food he put on the table came from hunting—despite the fact that he was uncomfortable killing animals. “My dad cried every time he shot a deer,” Billie says, “but we had to eat, so he did it.” He also worked as a hunting guide, which pained him even more. “Men from the city would drive up in their big Cadillacs, and my dad would take them out to his hunting camp for a week to get a trophy. He would guarantee them a buck before they left, but most of them were such lousy shots and drank so much that they couldn’t hit anything, so he’d usually have to shoot the deer for them. God, he hated that.” Loren, not surprisingly, was charmed by Chris. And Chris adored his grandfather.


Into the Wild