There's More Room Outside Than Inside (Yes, another bubbe story)


                Like a drummer in the center of a semi-circle choosing between cymbals, tambourines, chimes, bass and snare drums I stood ready; spoons and measuring cups taking place of sticks.  The gefilte fish was immersed in a carrot and onion bath simmer; the well behaved matzo balls floated to the top in even shaped spheres; the challah dough slept still in its humid little bed and golden broth bubbled, cackled and spurted out of the little hole made for steam – so far so good I thought.

                With the belief that singing to my matzo balls creates a perfect malleable as well as chewable consistency I let the song Bang Dem Sticks roar shamelessly out my backdoor windows. Sorry Neighbors. Though I cannot hold a tune quite like M Train, Meghan Trainor was the cooking music of choice. After playing the same album over at least 5 times, probably driving everyone within a 2 mile radius nuts, the beautiful, gorgeous, aromatic explosion hit me hard. Unlike what the sound of a cacophony of strong percussion pieces can do to one’s soul, a combination of smells can trigger deep emotion.  

                No one could make a house smell as good as my bubbe; no one. 

                Many thoughts of her danced around my head for the rest of the afternoon though I focused specifically on one particular phrase she frequently repeated, “There’s more room outside than inside.” Usually this phrase connected to a moment that had to do with the body needing to expel something unfortunate, like a bad virus let’s say. I remember moments as a kid with the stomach flu and bubbe holding my hair back, me retching and her quietly saying, “It’s okay bubelah, there’s more room on the outside than inside.” For whatever reason this made me feel better knowing that whatever my body was doing that seemed awful was normal and I would be okay. My bubbe was with me the morning I found out my mother passed away. I deflated like a ragdoll into her squishy chest and poured a magnificent amount of seemingly endless tears for a tiny person onto her one piece floral house coat. She simply rubbed my head, rocked back and forth and said, “It’s okay bubelah, there’s more room outside than inside.”

                Yes. Yes. I truly believe this to be so. A lesson for all of us once again from the tiny Russian power house - let those we love and who love us, and even those who we may think we need fill up our outside. Let those who care for us and love us be our rocks and pillars when we need them. There is more room on the outside than inside; therefore, let us not weather our storms alone whatever they may be. It is okay to need help and if you can muster up a comforting, floral bubbe bosom I highly recommend that as well!

L’Shana Tova…

Jessie Loeb