Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 461
Opal sits and tells Gloria Dump everything about her life. She talks about her and the preacher’s move from Watley to Naomi and explains how she had to leave all her friends behind when she moved. Then Opal tells Gloria about her mother and how she left when Opal was little; she also tells Gloria the ten things the preacher told her about her mother. Gloria listens as Opal explains that she thinks about her mother much more now than she ever did in Watley. She tells Gloria about how the preacher acts like a turtle in his shell, hiding from all the things that trouble him. And she finally tells Gloria about finding Winn-Dixie in the grocery store and how he has led her to meeting new people like Miss Franny Block, Otis, Sweetie Pie Thomas, and herself. Opal admits that the Dewberry boys called Gloria a witch, but she says she never believed them. Gloria listens patiently, and Opal feels that Gloria is listening with her heart.
When Opal finishes her story, Gloria says she thinks Opal has much more of her mother inside her than the red hair, freckles, and ability to run fast. Gloria suggests that they test Opal’s green thumb to see if, like her mother, she can grow anything. Gloria picks out a small tree for Opal to plant. Opal digs a hole, plants the tree, and carefully pats the dirt all around it. Opal asks Gloria what kind of tree it is, and Gloria replies that it is a “wait-and-see” tree. So Opal will have to wait for the tree to grow before they can tell what kind of tree it is. Opal wants to come back the next day to see the tree, and Gloria laughs and tells her that the tree will not be much changed after just one day. Opal admits that she wants to come back to see Gloria, and Gloria tells her that she is always welcome in her garden and home. Winn-Dixie has been napping, so Opal wakes him up, and he licks Gloria’s hand before they leave.
That night when the preacher is tucking Opal into bed, she tells her father about all her adventures of the day. Winn-Dixie lies next to the bed, waiting for the preacher to leave so he can get into bed next to Opal. When Opal is done talking, her father kisses her head and leans over to kiss Winn-Dixie too. The preacher tells the dog that he can get up on the bed, and Winn-Dixie smiles like he is laughing. To Opal’s surprise, the preacher laughs too. He turns off the light, and when Opal goes to kiss her dog, she finds that he is already snoring.