During my childhood in Transylvania, I remember late summer and early fall as a time for cold watermelon.

I recall once being bitten on the elbow by some kind of bug as I sat on the roof watching fireworks during a holiday festivity. My arm started to swell, and it hurt. I climbed down and my grandmother cut a slice of tomato and tied it on the bite with a piece of cloth.

Because I was crying, she permitted me to take another piece of watermelon.

I took it. It was cool, but it tasted funny -- not bad -- in fact, very good. After I ate it, the world started to turn around slowly, as if I were on a merry-go-round. As I found out the next day, I had taken a hunk from the grown-ups' watermelon, which was spiked with schnapps.

But I am thinking of something more sophisticated than spiked watermelon. I am thinking of a colorful three-melon parfait served in tall glasses. MIXED MELON PARFAIT (8 to 10 servings) 1 to 3 tablespoons rum, to taste 2 cups cantaloupe, diced in 1/4 to 1/3 inch pieces 1 to 3 tablespoons orange liqueur 2 cups honeydew melon, diced 32 to 40 watermelon balls 3 to 4 tablespoons cognac or bourbon 2 cups whipping cream Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar

Add rum to cantaloupe. Add orange liqueur to honeydew. Let both stand at room temperature about 1 hour. Lace watermelon balls with cognac. Chill. Whip cream with salt, vanilla and sugar until very stiff. Chill.

An hour or so before serving, distribute cantaloupe into 8 to 10 tall parfait glasses. Cover with a dollop of whipped cream. Add honeydew and cover with whipped cream. Add honeydew and cover with whipped cream. Add watermelon balls, pile remaining whipped cream on top and finish with one watermelon ball on top of each dessert. Chill and serve.