If you're keeping track, the friend count is now up to three. But Winn-Dixie isn't done yet. He helps Opal find yet another friend: Gloria Dump.
Here's the story:
While Opal is riding her bike home from Gertrude's Pets, she sees Dunlap and Stevie Dewberry, aka Naomi's Bully Patrol.
Their heads are menacingly shaved for the summer, and they look like twins, even though Dunlap is ten and Stevie is nine.
The evil duo follows her, and Winn-Dixie starts running ahead.
Dunlap warns her to watch out, because Winn-Dixie is running straight to a witch's house.
Winn-Dixie crosses into the overgrown yard.
Stevie claims the witch will eat Winn-Dixie. Opal tells him to shut up, but she can't help being worried.
Winn-Dixie won't come out. Opal decides losing Winn-Dixie is scarier than facing a witch, so she enters the gate (after calling the boys "bald-headed babies," of course) (9.13).
Deep in the jungle of the witch's yard, she hears someone laughing and sees Winn-Dixie literally eating from the witch's hand. Delicious peanut butter!
Opal sees that the "witch" has wrinkled brown skin and a big flowered hat and she doesn't look like a witch at all. In fact, thinks Opal, "She look[s] nice" (9.22).
Introductions all around: the old lady is Gloria Dump (too bad for her, right?); Opal is Opal Buloni (and kids called her Lunch Meat at school sometimes); and Winn-Dixie, yes, is named after the grocery store.
Then Gloria Dump makes Opal a peanut butter sandwich, and they all happily eat peanut butter together.
Gloria Dump admits to Opal that she can't see very well, so she needs Opal to tell her everything about her, "so as I can see you with my heart" (9.40). Opal does.