Chapter 21 Summary
Gloria and Opal spend the entire afternoon preparing for the party. They make egg salad sandwiches without the crusts and put toothpicks in them to make them look fancy. Winn-Dixie sits in the kitchen the whole time wagging his tail and watching them work. Winn-Dixie smiles at Gloria, trying to persuade her to give him some food. When she thinks Opal is not watching, Gloria slips the dog a sandwich. Gloria and Opal also make “Dump Punch,” a mixture of orange juice, grapefruit juice, and soda. Gloria says she is famous for the drink, but Opal has never heard of it before. The last thing they do in preparation is decorate the yard. Opal strings yellow, pink, and orange crepe paper streamers in the trees. They also put candles around the yard. Opal thinks that Gloria’s yard looks like a fairyland when it is finished. The beauty of it makes Opal’s heart feel full, and she wishes her mother could be there to see it.
Miss Franny Block is the first to arrive at the party. She is not in her usual clothing—she wears a shimmery green silk dress and high heels that make her wobble as she walks. She has a big bowl of Littmus Lozenges for the party. Opal introduces Miss Franny to Gloria, and they exchange pleasantries. Then Sweetie Pie Thomas arrives, accompanied by her mother. Sweetie Pie has many pictures of dogs from magazines, and she says that Opal’s party can have Dogs as a theme. She starts taping up the pictures on the trees and chairs. After that, the preacher arrives, and he is dressed very formally in a coat and tie. He shakes hands with all the guests and says he is pleased to meet them. In the middle of it all, Winn-Dixie wags his tail so hard that Opal thinks he will knock over something or someone. Amanda Wilkerson arrives looking cute and shy, not mean like she usually does, and Opal is glad to see her. She wants to tell Amanda that she knows all about Carson, but she settles for just being extra nice to Amanda.
Just then, Opal hears the loud voice of Gertrude the parrot, and she and Winn-Dixie go to the front of the yard where Otis is standing and holding a big jar of pickles. Otis is a little nervous about coming inside, so Opal comforts him and thanks him for bringing the pickles. He takes a small step forward and then follows Opal into the party.