The immortal philosopher, Charlie Brown, once stated “There are three things you should never discuss with people: religion, politics and the great pumpkin.” However, my kids and I talk of the first two often and the pumpkins this time of year. We recently learned most pumpkin pie filling is actually a type of squash and not specifically pumpkin. Though pumpkins are some of the 1,000 or more types of squash currently identified. Talk about a midlife let down.

In the author’s opinion, here’s what it takes to pick a great pumpkin. First, you stake out the best place to purchase the fruit (yes, another let down!) for good value. “Good value” means the larger the size, the more solid the exterior, the better the orange shade, the greater the absence of discoloration and the more symmetrical shape, then my friend you have a good value. A great pumpkin should never be picked for the price.

Picking a great pumpkin is similar to picking a great professional. Now, I don’t mean your lawyer or doctor should be rotund, orange, full of seeds, somewhat hollow and able to win Circleville’s Pumpkin Show. What I mean is, the choice of a service should be about more than just the sticker price in making a great selection. It should consider value as well. “Value” is the sum total of all the tangible and intangible benefits received when you make payment for a service . This lesson applies to picking others to serve your needs whether they are painters, doctors or lawyers.

Finally, when going out to pick your pumpkin take a little one or two you love along for the experience. After all, the pickin’ is about peace and joy for those we have around us. Have a great fall!