Chapter 2 Summary
Opal’s father spends a lot of time preaching, so much so that Opal has come to think of her father as “the preacher.” He and Opal have only recently moved to Naomi, Florida, so he can be the new preacher at the Open Arms Baptist Church. Opal’s father has traveled far and wide; before his daughter was born, he was a missionary in India. He named his daughter after this land and gave her the middle name Opal after his mother, whom he loved. Opal tells all this to Winn-Dixie as they walk home from the grocery store, and she also tells the dog that her father’s life is consumed by sermons, prayers, and the suffering of people. He is the kind of man who never has time to go to the grocery store. Opal reasons that since Winn-Dixie is obviously a suffering dog, her father will have a kind heart and accept him into their home. At this, Winn-Dixie wags his tail, and Opal notices that he is limping and smelly. Even though he is ugly, Opal loves Winn-Dixie with all her heart.
When the pair arrives at the Friendly Corners Trailer Park, Opal instructs Winn-Dixie to behave because it is an “adults only” trailer park; and Opal only gets to live there because she is a quiet kid, “an exception” according to Mr. Alfred, the trailer park manager. Opal tells Winn-Dixe that he must act like an exception, too, and not pick any fights with the other animals in the trailer park.
Outside Opal’s trailer, she tells Winn-Dixie to sit, and he obeys. Opal goes inside and approaches her father, reminding him that he has always taught her to help those less fortunate than they are. She tells him that she has found a “Less Fortunate” at the grocery store and asks if he can stay with the family for a while. The preacher questions his daughter, and Opal tells her father that she has found a dog. Her father immediately says they do not need a dog, but Opal claims that the dog needs her. She calls Winn-Dixie into the trailer, and the dog walks right over to Opal’s father and puts his head in the preacher’s lap. The preacher’s nose wrinkles, and he looks at the matted hair and bald spots on the dog. Winn-Dixie smiles at the preacher and then sneezes, blowing the preacher’s papers to the floor. Opal’s father says that the dog is surely a stray and a less fortunate, so he offers Winn-Dixie a home.