Chapter 9 Summary
Nearly everything that has happened to Opal during the summer has been the result of her having Winn-Dixie. Just like the dog drew her into friendships with Miss Franny Block and Sweetie Pie Thomas, he leads her to find another friend, Gloria Dump, the town witch.
When Opal says goodbye to Sweetie Pie Thomas and leaves Gertrude’s Pets, she rides her bicycle down the road and Winn-Dixie runs along next to her. Soon they go past the Dewberry house, and the two Dewberry boys, Dunlap and Stevie, get on their bikes and follow Opal and Winn-Dixie. Both boys have had their heads shaved to prevent them from getting fleas from their cat; to Opal, they look like two bald-headed babies. Opal can hear the two boys talking behind her, but she cannot make out what they are saying. Then Winn-Dixie starts to run ahead of Opal, and Dunlap hollers that Winn-Dixie is headed straight for the witch’s house. Opal calls Winn-Dixie, but he does not mind her and jumps over a fence into an overgrown yard. The boys say that the witch is probably eating Winn-Dixie for lunch, and Opal scolds them and tells them to go away.
Opal is more afraid of losing her dog than she is of confronting a witch, so she goes through the fence to find Winn-Dixie. She sees him eating something directly out of the witch’s hand. The witch laughs and says that Winn-Dixie sure likes to eat. Winn-Dixie has been eating a scoop of peanut butter, and the witch thinks he is trustworthy because he likes peanut butter. The witch introduces herself as Gloria Dump, and Opal thinks that she looks like a nice lady, not a witch. Gloria is old and has wrinkled, brown skin and a toothless smile. Opal introduces herself, and she also introduces Winn-Dixie; Gloria thinks his name is funny. Gloria asks Opal if she would like a peanut butter sandwich and invites her to sit on the porch. Gloria says that she cannot see very well with her eyes, so she sees people with her heart instead. She asks Opal to tell her everything about herself so she can see her with her heart. Winn-Dixie looks at Gloria and wags his tail like she is the best person he has ever met. Because Opal is so lonely and has no one to talk to, she decides to tell Gloria everything about her life.