I think that the two main characters of "Winter Dreams," Dexter and Judy, possess special qualities or "things."
One of Dexter's special things is his drive to be the best. Even as a caddy, Dexter would envision how he could defeat Mr. Hedrick "in the fairways of his imagination." This same quality is evident in how he grew his business. He went to school "out East" and "borrowed a thousand dollars on his college degree and his confident mouth, and bought a partnership in a laundry." Dexter studied how the English washed clothes and then implemented that same technique into his own businesses. After a while, Dexter established himself as a financial success. Fitzgerald suggests that part of the reason for this was Dexter's special talent for wanting "the best" out of everything. The desire for "glittering things" is one of Dexter's special things in his character. It is what makes him pine for Judy Jones.
Judy's special thing or gift was how she was able to capture the attention of men. Just as she casts an impression on Dexter, Judy is able to awe men: "Watching her was without effort to the eye..." Fitzgerald's description of Judy consists of phrases such as ‘‘inexpressibly lovely’’ and a ‘‘continual impression of flux, of intense life.’’ These help to describe her special gift. Judy is able to create a sense of want in men. She is able to stir a yearning in men that makes her the center of their world. This becomes both her greatest quality and simultaneously the source of her worst defect.