Grandma Goes to Rehab

Blue Angel 3

By Kevin Ridgeway

I was six years old and told by my uncle
that we were going on a treasure hunt
through grandma’s house, and if I found
all of the empty bottles of vodka there
would be a prize! a seasoned excavation
artist from my previous seasons looking
for Easter eggs, I found everything from
pints to gallons; some of them had exotic
labels with strange Russian names, others
had familiar supermarket iconography,
and I scored extra points plus a pat on the
head when I discovered one lingering
underneath the wig that sat atop her

as I watched him empty the contents
of every flask and airplane shooter
I thought to myself that grandma sure
was thirsty and must be having a
wonderful time at camp because she
had been there for weeks.

I would come to understand the
purpose of all of this years later when
there was a treasure hunt held in my
room in the garage. I packed my bags,
bottles falling out of garbled shirts
that I stuffed into a worn suitcase,
my family sending me off to “camp”
like dear old grandma twenty years
and several cocktails earlier to dry
out and have an internal treasure hunt
through the twisted psyche that was
my bitter inheritance.

Originally Appeared in Vine Leaves Literary Journal


  1. I love the way you wrote this after you came to a place where you could empathize from the adult POV. I love the phrase, “going to camp.” Well done!

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