Chapter 15 Summary
The air-conditioning unit does not work well at the Herman W. Block Memorial Library, so Miss Franny Block uses a large fan to keep the place cool. As soon and Opal and Winn-Dixie arrive at the library, the dog goes over the fan and lies right in front of it. The forced air makes his fur blow, and loose tufts of hair float away from him. Opal worries that the blowing air from the fan will one day make Winn-Dixie bald, but Miss Franny assures her that she has never known a fan to make a dog bald.
During her storytelling, Miss Franny has little shaking fits that make her forget what she is saying. Whenever Miss Franny has one of her fits, Winn-Dixie gets up from the fan and comes to sit next to her. With his ears perked up, he looks like he is protecting her, the same way that Opal has learned to protect Winn-Dixie from thunderstorms by holding him tight. Through the many thunderstorms that summer, Opal holds Winn-Dixie and rocks him back and forth, fearing that he might run away if he gets too scared. Opal then thinks about Gloria Dump and wonders who protects Gloria when those bottles start clanking and reminding her of the ghosts of all the things she has done wrong. Opal decides that the best thing to protect Gloria would be to read her a book loud enough to drown the sounds of the ghosts.
Opal tells Miss Franny that she has an adult friend with bad eyes to whom she would like to read a book, and she asks Miss Franny for suggestions. Miss Franny suggests that Opal try Gone With the Wind. Opal asks what the story is about. Miss Franny mentions the Civil War and is surprised that Opal does not know more about the Civil War. Miss Franny says that it was a terrible war and that her great-grandfather Mr. Littmus W. Block fought as a soldier when he was young. When Miss Franny says, “Now there’s a story,” Winn-Dixie slumps on the floor for a nap like he knows they are not going anywhere for a while. Opal asks to hear the story and sits down next to Winn-Dixie. All of a sudden, Amanda Wilkinson comes into the library and slams her book on Miss Franny’s desk, demanding another one. Miss Franny is not moved by the child’s demands and tells her she has to wait for the story. Then Miss Franny begins.