The sight of it was as iconic as the old courthouse on the square — the yellow Subaru.

All through the years that Horace Bratcher was running the streets of Waxahachie in the early 1980s Subaru, no one who knew him, had to guess as to his daily schedule.

The yellow bomb could be seen sitting by the old Baylor Hospital in the early mornings where he enjoyed breakfast; or mid-morning parked at the Sims Library on West Main, where he spent hours studying and reading. Perhaps by late morning, you would see the Subaru parked at Parrish Music, where he delighted in one of his passions — music.  

Around noon, the yellow car would probably be parked at his house, where Doris would have lunch ready for him — possibly followed by a quick nap. Then it was off to another passion of his life — his church — the College Street Church of Christ — today the Brown Street Church of Christ. He loved to sit and visit with the staff.

Horace was quite versatile. He had been a funeral director, he raised horses, did some barbering, along with a myriad of other jobs, including serving his country in the U.S. Navy. There was no job he wouldn’t tackle.

Bratcher was quite the singer as well, performing at most any establishment in Ellis County where a mic was available. He was a featured singer during some of the fundraiser events for the Honor Flight, a program whereby Ellis County World War II vets were given a trip to Washington to view the WWII Memorial Wall.

And he loved his Subarus. I think it’s safe to say his only rides during the last 40-45 years of his life were two Subarus. For many years, he sported around the Crape Myrtle Capitol in an early to mid-70s Subaru Brat — a small pickup with two seats fastened next to the cab in the bed, facing to the rear. It was his pride and joy. But being broad-sided on U.S. Highway 77 at the U.S. Highway 287 overpass in the early 1990s ended his long-term relationship with the little truck. But no matter the gravity of the situation, Horace could always make a comedy routine out of it.

“Have you ever been in a vehicle, turned on its top, and there you are hanging upside down still fastened in your seat belts?” he asked. “I want to tell you — that is a pretty lonely feeling.”  

But the accident didn’t cool his love for the Subaru. He found a little yellow, two-door job that had been “set up” for quite a long time. He discovered that he could purchase it for “a song” and have a mechanic go through it, making it roadworthy. That was probably the best used-car purchase ever recorded in automotive history.

And funerals — I doubt that Horace missed a half-dozen funerals of any Ellis County resident — or visitations during the last half-century. He was always available to extend his condolences and give words of comfort to bereaving families.  

It was my good fortune to be able to interview him for a feature story in the Waxahachie Daily Light many years ago. It was then that I truly got to know the history — and the heart of this Waxahachie legend.  

One thing about Horace and Mrs. Doris — they were readily recognizable — even at a long distance. When Carolyn and I were out on the 287 Bypass and could see a brown 1970 Buick exiting on Farm-to-Market 878/879 exit, we didn’t have to guess who it was.

“Hey — there’s Mrs. Doris!”  

It was the same for the yellow Subaru. No one had to wonder who was driving.

We’ll all miss Horace. He was a lover of people, and had so many interests — and he loved Mrs. Doris — he loved his church — and it was obvious by the joy he exuded, that he loved his Savior. And Heaven is just a little sweeter today because Horace is there.

Like Robin Fox said, remembering him in a Facebook post, “ Horace, I hope your Subaru has wings.”   

So long for now, dear friend.