Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

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Chapter 26 Summary

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The rain finally stops and the clouds disappear from the sky. Opal thinks the sky is so clear it seems like she can see every single star. She goes to the back of Gloria’s yard and looks up at the branches of Gloria’s mistake tree. Because there is no breeze, the bottles remain perfectly still and quiet. Opal looks from the tree to the sky, and she talks to her mother. She tells her mother she knows ten things about her and that ten things are just not enough. Opal then says she knows her father will eventually tell her more things because he has admitted that he thinks her mother is not coming back. Opal says both she and the preacher miss her mother, but her heart is no longer empty; she has filled her heart with the love of friends. She promises she will still think about her mother—just not as much as she has in the past.

When Opal is finished talking, she looks up at the sky and remembers the tree that Gloria helped her plant earlier in the summer. Opal has not looked at her tree in a long time. She crawls around the yard searching for the tree, and when she finds it, she is surprised by how much it has grown. The tree is still small and looks more like a plant than it does a tree, but it is strong.

While Opal is looking at her tree, Dunlap walks up and asks her if she is praying. Opal says she is just thinking. Dunlap asks her what she is thinking about, and she says she is thinking about all kinds of things. She apologizes to Dunlap for calling him and his brother “bald-headed babies.” Dunlap forgives her and says that Gloria told him to go into the yard to find Opal. She and Dunlap tease each other about Gloria and the “witchy” thing, and Dunlap asks Opal if she is ever going to get up. To Opal’s surprise, Dunlap offers her his hand, and she lets him pull her up from the ground. Dunlap says he will race Opal back to the house, and Opal warns him that she is fast. She beats him back to the house, and Amanda tells them they should not be running in the dark. Opal thinks about Amanda’s brother, Carson, and feels bad, so she takes Amanda’s hand and escorts her inside the house.

The preacher asks Opal if she will sing a song with him. Opal says that she does not know many songs, but the preacher says he will teach her one. Miss Franny passes around the bowl of Littmus Lozenges, and Winn-Dixie comes out from under Gloria’s chair. He sits down next to Opal and leans into her. All agree that it is time to sing, and Otis plays his guitar. Opal tastes the sweet and sad flavor of the Littmus Lozenge in her mouth, and then everyone begins to sing. Opal listens carefully so she can learn the song just the right way.

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Chapter 25 Summary