When they get close to Gloria's house, Opal and her daddy hear guitar playing and clapping. Hey, notice that she called him "daddy"? That's what she calls him from here on out. Hm, wonder if that means something?
They head into her kitchen, and lo and behold, Otis is playing music. Franny and Gloria are singing.
Sweetie Pie is sitting in Gloria's lap. And Amanda and the Dewberry baldies are sitting on the floor listening, smiling, and having a grand old time.
Okay, that's all great, but Opal is annoyed—they're all having fun and Winn-Dixie is still missing. She kind of yells at them, expecting them to be ashamed of their good times. Surprise! They know she didn't find him, because he was at the house the entire time.
Gloria pokes Winn-Dixie with her cane under her chair and gets him to come out (he was fast asleep). Well, of course Opal makes a scene and throws her arms around her beloved mutt.
Gloria tells the story:
While everyone waited for Opal and her daddy, Gloria convinced the Dewberry boys that she isn't a witch (they agree with this as she goes on with her story).
Franny suggested some music as they waited, and everyone was amazed by Otis's mad skillz. So they all started singing, and Franny and Gloria taught the kids the words to old songs, until—ah choo! Someone sneezed. Loud.
Who dunnit? No one knows… so they just started singing again—until AH-CHOO!— from the bedroom! Talk about a little freaky, so they sent Otis to check it out.
And—yup, you guessed it—it was Winn-Dixie, huddled under the bed scared to death, but also smiling so big he sneezed because animals just can't help smiling to Otis's music.
Opal's daddy laughs, and Dunlap smiles at Opal as the whole group joins in to finish the story: Otis played the guitar to lure Winn-Dixie out from under the bed, covered in dust (Amanda says), looking like a ghost (Dunlap and Sweetie Pie say). So he came back, huddled under Gloria's chair, and eventually fell asleep.
Opal is freaking out, she's so thankful. Gloria tells her they didn't do anything, really. And, look! They've all become BFFs as a result.
Then she tells her that the party is still going on, even if the egg salad is soupy and the punch ruined. With pickles and Littmus Lozenges, they're all still happy.
Opal's daddy asks Otis if he can play hymns, and then he hums a hymn for Otis to play. (Otis is so good, he can play anything he hears). Opal feels so happy she could burst, and she slips outside alone for a minute.