For Mother’s Day, her kids bought her a professional leaf blower. For her birthday, they gave her a weed trimmer. And this Christmas, Chris Williams hopes to get heavy-duty pruners, clippers, rakes and shovels. That’s because, after 15 years of whacking weeds alongside sidewalks and shoveling litter from city streets and gutters, her old tools are pretty beat up. “My family has me dialed in,” the 47-year-old Northridge real estate agent said Wednesday, laughing as she cruised Lassen Street. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2But she wasn’t looking for new listings or homes for sale. She was looking for weeds to whack. She’s had her eye on a stretch of public sidewalk between Corbin and Tunney avenues. And by 3 p.m., the weeds were gone, along with the trash Chris found lying around. Today, the Los Angeles City Council will honor her with a certificate of recognition from her local councilman, Greig Smith, for outstanding community service. While most of us only complain about eyesores on public streets, she’s actually been doing something about it. “Every day, on the way to drop my kids off at school, I’d see all these weeds in the sidewalks, and trash in the gutter, year after year,” she said. “I was spending way too much energy thinking about why someone wasn’t doing something about it. I finally thought, `Why not me?”‘ She told her kids she had a great idea for a family outing the next Saturday morning: They were going to pull weeds and pick up trash on public sidewalks. The kids were, well, less than enamored. “They thought I was crazy,” Chris said. “They told me I couldn’t make them do that, no other moms made their kids do that. They were embarrassed, afraid their friends would see them.” She didn’t care. A little hard work never cost her a friendship. Someone had to pick up after the slobs using public streets as trash cans. “That first time we went out with a few shovels and trash bags, walking along Tampa Avenue for a few hours. I had a little flatbed trailer attached to my car and took all the trash bags home to my trash cans. “I soon realized I needed to get more done in a shorter period of time, so we got better tools.” Before long, word got around Northridge about the woman taking her family for Saturday morning outings to whack weeds and pick up trash on their streets. Passing motorists would honk their horns and give Chris the thumbs-up sign, asking from their air-conditioned cars if she needed some water out there in the hot sun. Diplomatically, Chris would let them know she could bring her own water if she was thirsty. What she really needed was more help. “You know how Tom Sawyer made whitewashing that picket fence almost look like fun? Well, it’s the same with helping Chris whack weeds and pick up trash,” says her friend, Trish Lyons. The two women swear you don’t know what thrilling is until you’ve walked down the Tampa Avenue off-ramp from the Ronald Reagan Freeway at 6 a.m., picking up trash as cars whiz past. They met a few years back when Chris sold Trish’s house. They struck up a friendship, but didn’t go shopping or out to lunch when they got together. Instead, they donned work clothes and cleaned up the streets of Northridge. The kids are grown now and don’t join her much anymore. If Trish is busy, she’ll go alone. It’s not that people don’t want clean streets, Chris says. It’s just not a big priority. “I think most people would warm up to it, but somebody has to do the planning and organize it for them,” she says. That’s why she’s put together community trash cleanup days during the year. “If everyone would give one hour a month, our streets would sparkle,” Chris said as she tossed her weed trimmer in the trunk of her car. She had a new listing in a neighborhood a few blocks away – and she wanted to check out the sidewalks for weeds. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. email@example.com (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!