Patricia Stansfield struck gold yesterday in her bedroom closet.
There on the floor, in the pocket of her husband's grease-stained work shorts, the Carroll County woman found it: a Maryland Lotto ticket worth $6 million.
It was one of two tickets her husband, Clinton Lee Stansfield, 48, had bought last week at Carrolltowne Liquors in Eldersburg.
Mr. Stansfield didn't think much about the tickets when he bought them. He didn't think much about them when he got home to Sykesville Sunday from helping his parents at their home in Ocean City.
And when he tossed his shorts into the closet, his mind was not on the lottery. "After I bought them, I forgot about them," said Mr. Stansfield.
But the subject came up Monday when he got to work at B. Green & Co. Inc., a wholesale food distributor in Arbutus. One of his co-workers mentioned hearing that the winning ticket was purchased at a Carroll County liquor store.
Mr. Stansfield, a maintenance foreman, called home to ask his wife to check the numbers. Just one problem, he said: "I couldn't remember where I had left the ticket."
Mrs. Stansfield, who is 49, took this in stride. "We never win anything and I didn't expect this to be different," she said. "I just took my good old time looking."
And looking and looking. Calmly, she said, she "tore the house apart."
She checked the bedroom, went through the trash and poked around the garage. No gold. Then she made another search of the bedroom.
"I shook out shirts, checked under the bed, and finally looked through an old pair of shorts," she said. "There it was."
But was it IT? She couldn't find her glasses, so her 22-year-old son, Tracy, read the ticket: 1-14-19-20-25-33. It was a match worth $6 million.
Tracy called his father and word went through the plant like a hurricane. It was gloomy news for many of his co-workers, who normally pitch in for a couple dozen tickets whenever the jackpot rises above $2 million. This time "nobody wanted to buy tickets," Mr. Stansfield said. "I just got two for myself."
On Thursday, the Stansfields will receive their first check for $293,613, to be followed by 19 annual payments of $297,000, before taxes.
"It's hard to say how we will spend the money," Mr. Stansfield said. "I know we will purchase a new home and go on a well-deserved vacation. But after that, we don't know."
After the Stansfields left state lottery headquarters, they decided to pick up their other son, Todd, from his job at the London Fog plant in Eldersburg.
"I know a lot of those guys at [the London Fog] plant buy Lotto tickets at the same store," Mr. Stansfield said. "Just to remove all doubt from their minds, I told my son to tell them to stop checking. The winner has been found." Yes, in a closet . . . in a pair of old shorts.