ALPENA - Today is Friday the 13th. So if you're superstitious you probably won't buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket, even if the jackpot is over $400 million.
Sure. There's always beginner's luck, even though the odds of winning big are 1 in 258,890,850. But until the 11 p.m. drawing tonight, dreaming is cheap.
"I would just give it all away," said Linda Hastings of Ossineke.
Her son's guide dog died earlier this year and she and her family have had their share of hard times. Hastings said she also doesn't play the lottery. But she liked the idea of winning.
"It would be wonderful to give more than what ever you could imagine," she said. "Not just to people you know, but the United States is in dire need of some help. People need jobs, not a handout. They just need some genuine American love."
A couple of local residents have done all right recently. The last big winner was a local man who won a share of $110,000 after he bought a Fantasy Five ticket in April at the Mid-Pointe Convenience Store in Alpena County.
"He was shaking a whole bunch and I was happy for him," said store owner Rodney Haken, who was on duty when the winner came back with good news.
The payoff was around $35,000.
"That was the first real, real big one," Haken's wife Melissa said.
There also have been a couple $10,000 winners at the store. But Rodney and Melissa don't usually play the lotto themselves.
"If I won the lottery, oh my goodness, I'd probably have a heart attack," Melissa said. "I'd definitely find something good to do with it, with that kind of money."
Down in Harrisville, the last big winner snapped up $10,000 playing Keno at a local bar August 2012. Yet, Kerry Scott, administrative assistant for the Michigan State University Extension office in Alcona County, spent a few moments daydreaming out loud.
"I would definitely give some to charity, probably the Wounded Warriors because my son was injured in Afghanistan in April," she said. "I'd help friends and family and if I had money left over I would probably buy an island somewhere - a nice, warm, quiet place, especially right now.
"But actually I'd have to wait and see if I won it, and if I do I'll call you," she said.
Jackie Krawczak, executive director of the Alpena Chamber of Commerce, took a few minutes to collect her thoughts.
"I would pay off my student loans. I would pay for college tuition for people who are serious about making a better life for themselves," she said. "And I would buy a hippopotamus for the girl that sings that Christmas song about wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas so she'd stop singing it."
In downtown Alpena, opinions varied.
"I'd get a good lawyer so my five kids and 20 grand kids would get a share of it," said Dave DuBuque, a regular at a downtown antiques store.
"I would stop working first and buy a place in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and ski the rest of my life," said Cabin Creek barista Mike Anderson.
"I'd buy a home and open a couple businesses and give other people jobs," tattoo artist Jeremy Sorensen said.
Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.