He exhibited an infectious enthusiasm for language, as well as for the chance to spend time with the two girls, Blanca Margarita, 12, and Cintia Hiridion, 9.

She sat beside the clay images of maidens in flowered dresses, black-faced birds, images of the Virgin Mary, crucifixes, and devils driving cars her family have created.

Sitting directly in front of a red devil – with teeth bared and pink tongue hanging viciously out while riding a delirious elephant – was a depiction of The Last Supper.

Vendors throughout the plaza sold nance fruit, garbanzos, mame fruit, and macadamia nuts, while children rushed up to sell “palmas” the woven palm leaves so popular on Palm Sunday.

A man in a beige guayabera bought potato chips from a young woman pushing a blue cart.

Burns’ enthusiasm for the arts and crafts set up across the plaza was understandable.

The images throughout the fair, reflections of fragmented dreams struggling for identity, materialized on clay pots, danced across cotton dresses, and crashed into plates, pitchers, and bowls in a glorious playground of creativity.

There were clay pots from Huancito with Doberman, bulldog and parrots heads; cotton dresses with elaborate needlepoint from Cheran; from Uruapan came the famous maque, or lacquerware, with bright red flowers dancing across black backgrounds; shining vessels from Santa Clara del Cobre forged from discarded scrap copper; toys and wooden trucks from Pamatacuaro.

The crafts fair was an awakening of the senses, a rebirth of identity, a rediscovery of hidden recesses of the soul where the powerful incense of imagination transmitted a wave of tangible passion into the physical world.

Only in this particular account, the twelve disciples were topless mermaids, each holding a banana.