Chapter 22 Summary
Otis follows Opal all the way into the back of the yard, where the party is taking place. After Opal takes Otis to the party, she introduces him to her father, who tries to shake Otis’s hand. The preacher sticks his hand out to greet Otis, but Otis is holding on to the pickle jar with both hands. Otis tries to free a hand by shuffling around the pickle jar, but it is just too big to manage with only one hand. Otis has to bend over to put down the big jar of pickles, and when he does, his guitar hits him on the head. Otis says, “Ouch!” but he is not hurt. Sweetie Pie laughs, thinking that Otis is just being funny to entertain the guests at the party. Otis wipes his hand on his pants and shakes the preacher’s hand. Opal’s father says it is a pleasure to meet Otis. Then Opal introduces Otis to Miss Franny and Amanda. When Opal introduces Otis to Gloria, the two look each other right in the eye and smile. Gloria compliments Otis for having brought pickles to the party; she thinks that pickles are just the right thing to go with egg salad sandwiches. Otis blushes when she compliments him.
Gloria then inquires about Dunlap and Stevie, the Dewberry boys, and Opal says she invited them to come but she does not know why they are late. Opal does not tell Gloria that when she asked them to come to the party, Stevie told her they may not come because they are afraid of being at a witch’s house.
Even though the Dunlap and Stevie are missing, Gloria decides to get the party started, so she asks the preacher to bless the food. All the guests pray for good blessings, and then Sweetie Pie asks if it is time to eat. Winn-Dixie sneezes, and Opal hears a low rumble of thunder in the distance. She convinces herself that it is just Winn-Dixie’s stomach growling, but Gloria heard the thunder too. Gloria says that there has been no prediction for rain that evening. Miss Franny is worried about her dress—it is silk and cannot get wet. Amanda suggests that they move the party inside, and the preacher looks up at the sky. But before any of them can move, the sky opens and the rain pours down on them.