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Lexington man creates amazing light display sight unseen

LEXINGTON, Ky.-- Ryan Jones loves Christmas.

He was up on the rooftop in mid-November, fearlessly stringing lights for his annual display. He'll hang 10,000 of them.

" I also make my own extension cords," he said.

Oh, did I mention, he won't get to see the finished product. He's legally blind.

Jones said "I have light perception, so I can see light and dark area, I can see flashes of light and shadows in some circumstances but I can't see much more than that."

He works all year, programming a light show on his computer matched to music. He can't see the screen, but the software reads to him.

He describes it as 25 channels of lights on a grid and he has to control what each channel does each second. He can't just glance at the overall picture as you and I would do and drag a mouse to a selected area. He has to consider each channel separately, frame by frame-- a process that takes months.

"You can purchase pre-designed sequences but I prefer to do everything from scratch."

Ryan keeps strings of lights near his keyboard and if he turns off the lights and gets real close, he can see if they're blinking when he wants them to.

His wife Kaya is his eyes.

"She knows what I want, so she'll help me make sure it gets there if something's missing."

It's an example of patience and perseverance, with lights going up and coming down several times before Ryan gets it just right.

"We're going to have lights across this gutter, across each of the windows and the star will be here," he said, while feeling his way across the roof.

At last, on the first weekend of December, it's showtime.

Everything comes together in a half hour show featuring seven songs and narration from the Bible, which can be tuned in on a car radio.

Ryan and Kayla love it when cars slow down or stop to watch.

Kayla said "I hope people take away the message of Christmas. It's Jesus' birthday and I really want people to take away that if you have any sort of disability or perceived limitation, that you can absolutely do anything you set your mind to."

"Truth is, I do wish I could see the whole thing together, " Ryan said. "I have a picture in my mind what I think it looks like, but it would be pretty neat to see the whole thing together."

Ryan Jones may not be able to see, but those who drive by his house in December know he certainly has a lot of vision.

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The address of the display is 1748 Abbington Hill. That's off the Clays Mill extension beyond Man O'War Boulevard. Take a right on Twain Ridge Drive and then your next two rights.

The lights are on each night from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. through January 2. You can tune your car radio to FM 89.5 to hear the music.

This year's display is dedicated to Kayla's grandfather, Rev. Earl Davidson of Nancy, Ky., who died earlier this year at age 95.

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If you have story ideas for "Spirit of the Bluegrass," we'd love to hear them. Send email to news@foxlexington.com

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