Trudy Hurt stops by the Leonardtown Sunoco & Liquor just down the road from her house about every week for this or that and often picks up a block of lottery tickets.
But her last visit to the store was far from routine. "You won!" the store owner shouted.
Maybe $40, Hurt figured. No, they said. You won $3.4 million.
Her knees buckled. Vijay Grover, the owner, hugged her. Twice. Everyone there celebrated.
They had been waiting for someone to claim the Maryland Lottery ticket from the Sept. 15 drawing, talking with customers and trying to figure out who it might be. "We were happy we sold the winner," said store employee Clyde Hess. "It went right through our hands!"
All over the county, it turns out, people were wondering and speculating for weeks while Trudy and Tom Hurt were out of town.
Just down the road, at Rod 'N' Reel Hunting & Fishing Supplies in Lexington Park, another St. Mary's County woman was celebrating a smaller -- but still overwhelming to her -- lottery win. Susan Logan, 34, scratched a ticket whose winnings have bought her and her boyfriend, Dean Baden, a free trip to London, where she has always wanted to go to see the old buildings and the royal family and try to make the Buckingham Palace guards laugh. Logan, a Rod 'N' Reel employee, has never been on an airplane, and the farthest she has ever gone on a trip is Pennsylvania, so she can't even repeat what she said when she won.
Of course, when she saw Hurt's great big check for $3.4 million at the Lottery Claim Center in Baltimore last week, Logan couldn't help but say, "Ooh, that's the one I want!"
The oversized check was still waiting for Trudy and Tom Hurt, who signed the paperwork Friday and saw the check was real.
"We'll be telling [our daughters] today," Tom Hurt said, "now that we've come up here, [we've] seen it's not a joke. It really is a winning number."
The Hurts, of Leonardtown, have two grown daughters, one living in Piney Point and one in Atlanta, and five grandchildren, all of whom will benefit from the money, they said.
They chose to be paid in one smaller lump sum -- which, after taxes, comes to $1.35 million -- rather than receive the $3.4 million in installments over 25 years.
They'll get a new car and a nice house down South to retire in, they said.
And, no, Tom Hurt, who's 59, won't be retiring any earlier than planned. He had already told his boss at Patuxent River Naval Air Station that he would work for another year, and he doesn't want to let him down, he said.
Trudy Hurt, 65, is already retired from a receptionist job and a career as a beautician.
She's from Germany and met her husband in Spain while he was traveling for the Navy. They've been married 38 years and lived and traveled all over the world. They settled in St. Mary's in 1987.
And they've bought a lot of lottery tickets. She said she has been spending $100 every five weeks for a while. The most she ever won before now was $1,000.
Now they know they don't have to worry as they get older. "It's really nice for us," Tom Hurt said. "It'll allow us to maintain the same lifestyle when we retire."
They're going back to the Sunoco and taking Vijay Grover and his family out to dinner, they said. Grover said the Hurts have bought some champagne from him to celebrate. "Real good bottles," he said. "Real good. She can afford it!"