Walnut Grove, Minn.-Newly surfaced evidence suggests that Charles Ingalls can add songwriter to his resume.
The song, “No Sugar Tonight” by Canada’s The Guess Who may in fact be indebted to Charles Ingalls for the lyrics. Remains of lyrical scribblings were recently unearthed in the soddy, or as Charles apparently liked to call it, his “writing pad,” along with some scattered recounting of the circumstances behind the lyrics.
It seems that the idea originated when Charles did not get paid for a job he had completed for the Hanson Mill when the company for whom they were completing the job went bankrupt. Scrambling to make ends meet any way he could, Charles returned home one evening for a dinner of berries. When he asked for sugar for the berries, his wife, Caroline, informed him that there was no sugar. When he asked for coffee, Caroline likewise informed him that the family was out of coffee.
“No sugar, no coffee,” Charles commented in reply.
After some cheering up by his family, who relished the opportunity to remind him of everything he ever said, Charles seemed to forget about this encounter until he was in bed for the evening. Caroline, who was nearly asleep, was awakened when she heard Charles quietly sing something that sounded like “do do do do do do do doooo do, do do do do do do do.” When she inquired what Charles was up to, he replied that it was an idea that just came to him for a song. He then proceeded to sing some rudimentary lyrics, which included, “no sugar tonight in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea.”
“Charles, you don’t even drink tea,” Caroline chided him.
“Quiet, Caroline,” Charles reprimanded her. “It’s called artistic license. Just roll with me here. Now, what comes next…”
“’No sugar to stand beside me’ if this keeps up all night and I can’t sleep,” Caroline muttered in annoyance.
“Caroline, that’s perfect!” Charles exclaimed as he bounded out of bed to go grab his fiddle. “I’ll be in the soddy.”
Caroline then proceeded to dump the popcorn out and go to sleep.