I'm currently in Iowa with my parents. As I do every time I visit my family, today I added to my long list of Iowa-isms:

1. Funeral fare must include "maidrites", ham sandwiches (with butter, not mayo) and a variety of fruit studded jello salads. (A helpful tip: when it comes to jello salads, always choose green over red.)

2. Iowans will use every opportunity to refer to Iowa as "God's country." For example: "So glad you've returned to God's country" -- to my parents. Or, "Are you enjoying your visit to God's country?" -- to me.

3. Any gathering will be predominately white.

4. The Friday night hot spot in my parent's town is always the most recently opened ethnic restaurant in town -- don't worry, nothing will be even remotely spicy.

5. When visiting a relative in a small town -- it's safe to assume that you are somehow related to half the people living there.

6. Iowans are the some most friendly people out there -- and they give really great hugs.

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